Who Will Replace Alcee Hastings?




The caller told me that Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness was fielding a powerful grass roots team. He was “definitely” going to win his bid for Congress in a special November 2 primary.

An email claimed that Sheila Cherfilus McCormick of Miramar was a shoe-in because of her pledge to give $1,000 to every adult earning less than $75,000.


Sheila Cherfilus McCormick


No, first term State Rep. Omari Hardy of West Palm Beach will win, said another reader. He has solid support in the LGBTQ community, the backing of many progressives and a Sun-Sentinel endorsement.

All wishful thinking! 

There are 11 candidates running for the late State Rep. Alcee Hastings seat in the special election. With that many candidates and a predicted light turnout, anyone could win. 

Anyone. By a razor-thin margin. 

Referring to the half dozen leading candidates, who all have run before, veteran pollster Jim Kane says:

 “These are people who have been through campaigns. They all are working hard. They all have good resumes. Who is going to win? Who the f— knows?”

Florida has a long history of winners who were carried into office by a handful of votes. Remember George W. Bush? Remember former State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff and her first win by 12 votes?

I could go on, but you get the point.  

So forget the polls, which several candidates are touting as showing them “ahead.” 

In this race, polls mean little. Or nothing. 

No one can reliably predict winners in a race like this which is crowded with good candidates.

If there is an afterlife, Hastings must be laughing at the donnybrook his death produced. And the late congressman lives on as several candidates puff their relationship him.

Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness claims he had a “verbal” endorsement from Hastings. That obviously can’t be checked without an Ouija board.

Yet Holness did receive a $1,000 contribution from Hastings’ campaign account as it winds down. 

The contribution came last month. Hastings died in April. Since I never heard of a spirit writing a check, I don’t believe Hastings personally made the donation. Yet the campaign donation made waves, something Hastings did his whole adult life.

He started young and nothing came easy for this son of domestic servants in Altamonte Springs, a town north of Orlando.

Against all odds he broke free of cracker Central Florida and graduated law school. Then he moved to Fort Lauderdale and started defending people who looked like him.

He and his partner W. George Allen sued businesses. The Broward school system.  They faced down segregationists who infested the corridors of power.

Of the two young lawyers, Hastings was the most charismatic. He drew the lightning. Everybody on the white side of the tracks were against him. Fort Lauderdale’s leaders weren’t openly Kluxers by the 1960s, but beneath those seersucker suits and country club smiles were white robes and hoods. 

It is an experience none of today’s candidates can even imagine. 

Figuring he would make a statement for the black community, Hastings ran for U. S. Senator in 1970, a revolutionary act at the time. He lost.

But his run, subsequent losing races and his Civil Rights credential caught the attention of Gov. Reuben Askew. He appointed Hastings to the Broward Circuit Court in 1977. 

Two years later President Jimmy Carter named him to the federal bench. 


Alcee Hastings


The rest of the story was fodder for national headlines. 

Federal judge Hastings was impeached after a jury didn’t believe the FBI and wouldn’t convict him of bribery.

A few years later he was personally vindicated by voters in the black sections of Broward and Palm Beach Counties They elected him to Congress in 1992. 

He was reelected repeatedly until earlier this year when he died of cancer at 84. 

Through the years Hastings’ consistent message was for equality. For affordable health care. For giving immigrants a break. For higher wages for workers.  The message was delivered in his distinctive booming voice. None of the leading candidates fighting for Hastings’ old seat can mesmerize an audience like he did.

With the strength of that voice and his steadfast stands, Hastings won respect from his congressional colleagues. Including some of the same men who voted to impeach him years earlier. 

So perhaps the only sure thing is that in this race: The winner will pale next to Hastings. 

Who is going to win? 

Says Kane:  “I’m not putting money on it. I would get better odds at the track.”  


8 Responses to “Who Will Replace Alcee Hastings?”

  1. Tony T says:

    Holness will be gone either way. He loses or he wins and vanishes in Washington as an insignificant freshman Democrat. No one will miss him.

  2. Sam the Sham says:

    “The winner will pale next to Hastings.”

    Ooooh, Buddy! Tell me that’s not a racial thing.

    Who cares who wins. Whoever gets in will be a poverty pimp just like Hastings, and only a freshman in the minority party.


    The dictionary definition I was using is “feeble and unimpressive.”

  3. No Omari says:

    Omari Hardy is 31. Ridiculous. His leftist view are out of touch with Broward’s black community.

  4. Dictionary, please says:

    Please define”black community”. Is it the long established areas in places like Dania Beach, Hallandale, and Pompano Beach? Does it include folks from the Caribbean, Haiti, Africa? Does it include biracial people?
    Hastings’ district has changed dramatically since he entered politics. The whole of Broward has also.
    It seems the only thing all the candidates for Hastings’ seat have one thing in common: skin color and and an allegiance to people who share background like their own. That adds up to more divisiveness.

  5. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Not so fast concerning Comm.Holeness a shoe- in.Yes,before the arrest of his daughter relating to her arrest for PPP fraud ( no worries darling there r more out there that robbed PPP,in fact the FBI stated to myself that concerning Mr.Holeness and I quote ” we r not done yet”).So before her arrest I would have bet the rent he was on his way to DC.Oh come on.She used his real estate office location and Mr.Holeness states he was unaware of that fact.He went on to did her by stating he had not spoken to her in years- which was proven to be not true.So who knows . Basically,this overwhelming Black district will be decided by the Black folks/vote.And don’t count out Comm.Barbara Shariff.Seen her TV ($) ads and I’m sure she is just getting started.Will she pull it off I would say the odds r against her.I think this race could be decided by Percy Thurston and or Bobby Dubose.Both extremely liked in the Black neighborhoods.This other candidate u mention Sheila McCormick who wants to give every resident earning less than 75G a 1000 dollars/ a month- just for ha ha’s.Bottom line the FBI is not done by their own admission that their investigation pertaining to Dale Holeness is not entirely completed.I think they r entertaining a plea deal for his daughter,provided that she flips on her father ( Holeness).Also his son I believe is also under their radar.Bottom line if I lived in this Congressional district I would go w/ Bobbie Dubose.He is young,easy on the eyes, articulate and comes across as trustworthy.Again,none of this means a hill of beans because the Black district residents will decide who they want to replace Alcee Hastings..

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I lived in the District. Holiness despite not being in my County Commission District had volunteers working it at Elections but neither my State Rep DuBise or State Senator. From my IN PERSON OBSEVATIIN IF MY AREA, Holmess has the grassroots advantage.

  7. Just one vote says:

    Halfway thru early voting and here is Broward’s turnout –

    About 1,800 so far…..
    Maybe they are waiting too Nov 2. ?
    Or most wanted a mail-in ballot. ?

  8. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Kindly note Thurston, DuBose n Sun Sentinel endorsed Omri Hardy were the low vote candidates. What does this mean for Ft Lauderdale Democratic candidates in the future n what does it say about the Sun Sentinel editorial board?


    The Sun-Sentinel’s editorial board, and other newspapers, have no influence in a high-profile race like one for Congress. There impact on elections has dwindled along with their readership.