Democrat Tom Keen wins House District 35 special election

by | Jan 17, 2024

Democrat Tom Keen secured a slim election win in House District 35’s special election on Tuesday, beating Republican Erika Booth.

In a closely watched special election, Democrat Tom Keen clinched a narrow victory in Florida’s House District 35 special election on Tuesday.

Keen, a former Naval Flight Officer and businessman, won with 51 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Erika Booth, who garnered 48.7 percent, by a margin of 590 votes. The special election was called following the resignation of Republican Fred Hawkins, who left his legislative position to become president of South Florida State College.

“A huge thank you to all our supporters, volunteers, and voters who believed in our vision for a better, brighter District 35,” said Keen. “Your dedication, hard work, and votes have brought us to this incredible moment.”

Keen largely ran on a platform advocating for property insurance reform, free speech, and environmental protection.

House District 35, which spans a large portion of Osceola County and East Orange County up to the Brevard County line, has seen a nearly even split in voter registration among Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Tuesday’s election saw a higher a higher voter turnout for Republicans than Democrats, despite Keen’s victory and, according to News Service of Florida, voter registration in the district was almost evenly split between Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters.

“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.

In the primary races, Keen defeated Rishi Bragga Marucci Guzman, while Booth, a former Osceola County School Board member, beat out Ken Davenport and Scotty Moore.


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