Hastings’ Replacement Will Immediately Be The Most Powerful Pol In Broward’s Black Community




U. S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who fought against metastatic racism for six decades, today lost his biggest battle — pancreatic cancer. 

His departure from politics will change South Florida politics for many years. His replacement will immediately be a major Broward leader, the most politically powerful and visible figure in the booming black community. 


Alcee Hastings


Who will it be? 

No doubt whoever fills Hastings’ seat  will be the same dependable liberal vote. Hastings represented the heavily black, heavily Democratic Broward and Palm Beach Congressional District 20. A tribute to gerrymandering, it winds from the small communities around Lake Okeechobee through Palm Beach and Broward’s inner cities. 

There are roughly five Democrats for every one Republican and every two No Party Affiliation voter in the District.

An African American originally from Central Florida, Hastings in recent years built an alliance with the Caribbean-American community growing in his district. Seemingly coated with teflon to repel the many scandals that enveloped him over the year from allegations of sexual harassment 0f aides to impeachment as a Federal judge for alleged corruption, Hastings remained deeply loved by voters.

Older voters remember and admire Hastings’ role in the civil rights fights over the 1960s and 1970s against entrenched racism enabled by Broward political and business leaders.  It will take potential successors  years to build the gravitas and reputation of Hastings.

None of the potential replacements sadly have the spell-binding speaking style and rapier wit of Hastings.

Among the names being mentioned to replace Hastings are Dale Holness, Barbara Sharief, Perry Thurston Jr. and Chris Smith. Sharief launched a campaign for Congress months ago.  

Interestingly, the supposed candidates are all from Broward. And three of the candidates have already run against each other. 

Thurston lost a 1998 House race to Smith before winning a seat in the House in 2006. He went on to be House Minority Leader (2012-14) and a state Senator in 2016. 

Holness beat Smith 51-49 percent in 2016 for a seat on the Broward County Commission. 

Holness and Sharief are Broward County Commissioners. 

Holness is renowned locally for his nascent political machine, largely in the Caribbean-American community. Sharief runs picture-perfect campaigns that she can help fund as the owner of a successful health care business. 

In addition to his legislative career, Thurston is a veteran Broward attorney. Chris Smith is a long-time political figure in Fort Lauderdale, a big base of voters.

Although most of the talk in Broward is about local replacements, roughly 28 percent of the voters in the District live in Palm Beach County. 

The number could produce this: multiple strong Broward candidates could split the Broward vote. That could allow a candidate from Palm Beach to win. 

And remember: district lines will be recut next year as part of the nationwide reapportionment. Anyone filling Hastings seat in a special election will have to run again in a newly designed district next year. 

Let the fun begin.

12 Responses to “Hastings’ Replacement Will Immediately Be The Most Powerful Pol In Broward’s Black Community”

  1. Mayor Richard J Kaplan (Ret.) says:

    One other additional note of interest. Since this is a Federal office, the Florida Resign to Run law doesn’t apply.

    Anyone holding State or Local office can run without being required to resign to run. So they would have no risk to their present seat if they should lose.

    This applies to 3 of the 4 potential candidates you mentioned.


    The law was amended in 2018 to include federal office. I’m not sure at this point how the law would apply in a special election.

  2. FTL Voter says:

    I think resign to run still applies here. Florida law doesn’t explicitly exclude it from the statute so it applies here. This means DeSantis will get to fill at least one county commission seat and maybe two with presumably Republican placeholders who would serve until the 2022 elections. If any of the legislators run then their resignations will trigger more special elections.

  3. Mayor Richard J Kaplan (Ret.) says:

    I stand corrected. The original law was passed several years ago to allow the possibility of Gov. Christ to run for Federal Office without resigning. That’s what I thought still controlled.

    But they reversed the law in 2018 to eliminate that.

    I didn’t realize it since I left office in 2018 and didn’t pay attention to the change.


    Richard J. Kaplan was the mayor of Lauderhill for 21 years.

  4. Frankie T says:

    Mr. Hastings is from a taken when the rights taken for granted by Holness and Shariff were won. It was a hard time in Florida for those who looked like Alcee Hastings and me. Most forget that today. Hastings at times put his life on the line because this area was filled with haters. RIP to a great man who stood for the betterment of society.

  5. Jiminy Cricket says:

    @#5. Did your dear mother teach you to never speak I’ll of the dead 😡😡.

  6. What's Your Legacy ? says:

    @#5 I notice that people on this blog have a habit of trashing the deceased which is easy, I guess, when they have no way of defending themselves. I was privileged to get to know Congressman Hastings, not well, but a bit. I was very impressed by the man and I think that his legacy will live on as a voice for his constituents. It is just regrettable to see posts like this. It’s not right and I wish folks would just stop doing it or that these posts were moderated and not allowed to see the light of day in the first place.


    You are right. I took the comment down.

  7. Politics is a dirty business says:

    While looking for a quote about power and politicians to emphasize the words in your headline, I came across wisdom from Robin Williams:

    “Politics: “Poli” a Latin word meaning “many” and “tics” meaning “bloodsucking creatures”.”
    ― robin williams

    That about sums up the whole political picture today! In this case Alcee is gone, a semi-civilized bloodbath to acquire his seat will occur, and the divisive power plays to get a bigger slice of the pie will continue. Sad.

  8. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    1. He ran an office that helped ALL.his constituents. He WILL BE MISSED.
    2. Will his successor – you have listed several possible ones – do tbe same?
    3. UNLIKE Congressman Hastings at least one name on your list is tied to a virulent anti-Semite n ignorant Black racist in the Fort Lauderdale portion of the District who gets retweeted by the Sun Sentinel to my disgust.

  9. Just one vote says:

    @8.Count C
    I need to know who ( of the candidates) is the anti-Semite so they do not get my vote. I don’t get the sun sentinel.
    DeSantis will take his time calling the special election.
    Probably Sept and then they run again In 2022 Aug primary.

  10. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Wait a minute. Chris Smith was the principal pillar of Bobby DuBose’s race.

    Maybe it was Chris Smith who got DuBose in the race.

    Smith got his chicken restaurant (and the) CRA grant because of McKinzie, who is running for Holness’County Commission seat.

    A successful DuBose race means a boost for McKinzie over who gets (Perry) Thurston’s senate seat and DoBose’s rep seat. I think Thurston now becomes ‘an after event’. M

    cKinzie n DuBose are heads ahead of Thurston where Thurston thinks he can get votes.

    The.X factor is the size of the Palm Beach vote AND WHO GETS WHAT PART OF IT.

  11. just saying says:

    Omar Hardy in Lake Worth is now a candidate and will give all the ‘old guys’ running in Broward a run for their money. If the Broward wannabees were smart and strategic, they would have one Broward guy run, and the others stay in their respective elected gigs. More Broward voters than PBC so Hardy could be beat. Redistricting is coming so those that sit out this special election may have other opportunities beyond Broward borders. If Hollness was smart, he would stay on BCC, even if he has to run again in 2022 for redistricting. The two women candidates may stay in, for better or worse. Those insisting on running should do serious polling to know how many will actually vote for them.

  12. just saying says:

    Meet Omar Harding –