Democratic primary for Hastings's Florida House seat headed for a recount

Democratic primary for Hastings's Florida House seat headed for a recount
© Greg Nash

The Democratic primary for the late Rep. Alcee HastingsAlcee (Judge) Lamar HastingsFlorida Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick sworn in as newest House member DeSantis proposes Florida redistricting map Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick wins Florida special election to succeed Alcee Hastings MORE’s (D) South Florida House seat is heading toward a recount.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, health care executive Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick leads Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness 23.8 percent to 23.7 percent, a margin of just 31 votes. 

Under Florida’s election law, races that are within a vote margin of 0.5 percentage points or less trigger an automatic machine recount. When the margin is 0.25 points or less, a hand recount is required.

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None of the nine other Democrats in the race fall into that margin. Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief currently sits with 17.7 percent of the vote, while state Sen. Perry Thurston has 14.7 percent of the vote. No other candidate broke double digits in the election. 

The eventual winner of the Democratic primary is almost certain to go on to fill Hasting’s seat next year. Hastings, who served in the House for nearly three decades, died earlier this year after a battle with pancreatic cancer. 

The special election for Florida’s 20th District, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, is set for Jan. 11. Republican Jason Mariner defeated one other GOP rival, Greg Musselwhite, on Tuesday in the district’s Republican primary.

If the recount upholds Cherfilus-McCormick’s lead, it’ll mark her first success across three separate bids for Congress. She previously ran against Hastings in the 2018 and 2020 Democratic primaries.