Democrats Flip Florida State House District in Special Election


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

The seat in Florida’s House District 35 (HD35) has shifted from Republican control to Democratic control with the election of emocrat Tom Keen as the next representative.

Democrat Keen, a businessman and a 21-year military veteran with many decorations, defeated Republican Erika Booth, a member of the Osceola County School Board. The vacancy occurred when Republican Fred Hawkins departed to accept a position as president of South Florida State College.

There was a margin of approximately 590 votes in the battleground district, with Keen receiving 51.3% of the vote and Booth receiving 48.7%. He is running on a platform of reducing property insurance rates in the state’s crisis and other locally focused issues.

When the two candidates met in 2022, Hawkins had a comfortable lead of 55% to 45%. In 2020, the district went to President Joe Biden, who lost to Donald Trump by a margin of five points.

“Florida Democrats rallied behind Tom Keen,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. “We saw unprecedented enthusiasm and investment in this special election from all corners of the state, as well as many of our national partners. We proved that Florida is still worth fighting for, and that a well-organized, well-funded Democratic campaign can still win a swing seat in this state.”


On the national stage, Trump landed a historic victory Monday evening during the country’s first 2024 presidential primary in Iowa, a win that renewed talk of who he is considering as a running mate.

On Monday evening, as the ballots were being tallied, some supporters of the former president said they would like to see him select business entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who dropped out of the ’24 race following his distant finish behind most of the field.

But Trump aide Jason Miller told the New York Post that supporters who favor Ramaswamy could “probably” rule him out a day after Trump unleashed a verbal attack on his now-former competitor.

The former president accused Ramaswamy of being “sly,” having “deceitful campaign tricks,” and not being MAGA during a blistering attack on Saturday on Truth Social.

“Pretty safe to say it won’t be Vivek,” Miller told The Post.

The biotech mogul has previously said he is not a “plan B person,” while Trump said in August that Ramaswamy could be a “very good” vice president, The Post added.

A video of Trump rocketed across the internet and social media platforms Monday evening as votes were beginning to be tallied following the nation’s first GOP primary in Iowa.

In it, Trump can be seen walking down a set of stairs before coming up towards a camera and addressing reporters who were gathered.

“Great night and fantastic place,” Trump said about Iowa. “We’ve won it twice, as you know, the last two elections, and I think we’re gonna have a fantastic night tonight.

“The people are fantastic, and I’ve never seen spirit like they have — countrywide, but in Iowa, I’ve never seen spirit like this, thank you,” Trump said, turning away from the camera as reporters shouted questions at him.


Trump went on to win the Iowa caucus with more than 51% of the vote, ahead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with about 21.2 percent and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley with 19.1 percent.

Trump addressed his two closest rivals’ performances after the race was called.

“I really think this is time now for everybody to come together, whether it is Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative. It would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world and straighten out the problems and all of the death and destruction that we’re witnessing that has practically never been seen,” he said. “I want to make that a big part of our message. We’re going to come together.”


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