Omari Hardy Enters Crowded Congressional Race, Promising to Fight for Green New Deal, Racial Justice

Praising the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and planning to back the Green New Deal and other policies supported by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, state Rep. Omari Hardy, D-West Palm Beach, entered a crowded special election for an open congressional seat in South Florida on Wednesday.

Hardy, who was elected to the Florida House last year, launched his bid by trying to rally progressives behind him.

In a video released on Wednesday, Hardy insisted “fighting for housing as a right, basic income as a right, health care as a right, the Green New Deal and racial justice isn’t imitating A.O.C., it’s responding to what I see, and honoring the legacy of Alcee.” Claiming, “we need more unapologetic progressive Democrats in Congress,” Hardy noted. “This special election is our chance.”

A former teacher who served on the Lake Worth City Commission, Hardy represents parts of Palm Beach County.

With Hastings passing away earlier this month, a crowded field of Democratic candidates has lined up to replace him. This is considered a secure district for Democrats with their presidential candidates getting almost 80 percent in the district in recent years. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will be a very heavy favorite to win the seat.

Besides Hardy, current Democratic candidates include businessman Matt Boswell; attorney Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick who took 26 percent against Hastings in the 2018 primary and 31 percent against him in 2020; writer and businessman Elvin Dowling; state House Minority Leader Bobby DuBose, D-Ft. Lauderdale; Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness; activist Emmanuel Morel who ran for the state Senate in 2016 and took 8 percent against U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., in the primary back in 2014; attorney Marlon Onias; Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief; former state Rep. Priscilla Taylor; and state Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation. Potential Democratic candidates include state Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach.

Republican Greg Musselwhite, who took 21 percent against Hastings in November, is running again for the seat which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. He faces Lateresa Jones, who has run for the U.S. Senate, Congress and for lieutenant governor in the past decade, in the Republican primary.

Mike ter Maat, an economist who has served as a police officer in Broward County for more than a decade, is running as a Libertarian.

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Kevin Derby
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