Erika Benfield, an interior designer and small businesses owner in Seminole County, launched her candidacy for Florida’s 7th Congressional District, joining a long list of GOP candidates vying to turn the district red in 2022.
Benfield, who moved to Florida from Puerto Rico at age six, officially announced her bid to flip CD 7 in a press release on Thursday, highlighting her journey overcoming long odds and achieving the American Dream by starting her own business in the Sunshine State.
“Today, I am proud to launch my campaign for United States Congress,” Benfield said. ” I moved stateside from Puerto Rico at a young age. My parents were seeking better healthcare and job opportunities as a teacher and car mechanic. My late grandfather served in the U.S. Army, and was a prisoner of War in Korea. It was that great patriotism and work ethic that led me to become a successful business owner, philanthropist, a mother, and a grandmother. Having achieved my American Dream, I believe it is my responsibility to give back to this great nation and the great state of Florida.
Benfield is no stranger to the district she seeks to represent. She attended public school through college in Seminole County, eventually opening her first retail store in Seminole County, Florida Living Quarters, in 2008. She has since expanded her business to include a real estate brokerage, Design or List It, with her husband.
Benfield has also served her community in several capacities. In 2016, she ran for city council at large in DeBary and won by a vast majority. In 2018, she was appointed by her peers as Vice Mayor. Benfield also filed to run for House District 27 in 2019, placing second in the Republican primary with over 36 percent of the vote.
She currently resides in the district with her husband of 17 years, Paul, and is the mother of four and grandmother of two.
Benfield says if elected she will use her experience to champion “America First” policies supported by former President Donald Trump, who she campaigned for in 2020.
“Too many people are struggling to make ends meet due to rising costs, and the gridlock and corruption in Washington are making the problem worse, not better. Career politicians have forgotten about the people they’re supposed to represent,” Benfield added. “Taxes are too high on families and job-creating small businesses. The Democrats spend too much, threaten our 2nd Amendment rights, and are pushing divisive, anti-American indoctrination into public schools.
“I am an unapologetic conservative who believes in the America First agenda championed by President Donald Trump. This is the land of hope, the land of opportunity. This is where people like me can achieve great things. In America, we come together to solve problems. Our best days are ahead of us, and my campaign will be about asking people to join me.”
Benfield’s entry into the field marks the seventh Republican to enter the race. She joins State Representative Anthony Sabatini, consultant Cory Mills, former police officer Jeremy Liggett, Casselberry City Commissioner Mark Busch, pastor and former Navy SEAL Brady Duke, and Joe Cavagna in throwing a hat in the crowded GOP primary.
CD 7, which is centered in the north-central portion of the state and encompasses Seminole County and parts of Orange County, including much of downtown and northern Orlando and the cities of Maitland and Winter Park, is set to be redrawn again ahead of the 2022 election as part of the reapportionment process.
CD 7 is currently represented by Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, who was first elected in 2017.
Today, I announce my candidacy for United States Congress. 🇺🇸
I believe it is my responsibility to give back to Florida, and our great nation, as an unapologetic America First conservative.
Follow along the campaign trail with my new Twitter account.#FLPolitics pic.twitter.com/th7etFOee1
— Erika Benfield (@Erika_Benfield) July 15, 2021