Alcee Hastings’ passing heats up competition over vacant state congressional seat

(WSVN) - While South Florida mourns the loss of a leader, discussion over longtime Congressman Alcee Hastings’ seat is heating up.

Hastings spent nearly three decades in Congress serving South Florida’s 23rd and then 20th district.

He spent his life fighting for equal rights and making sure everyone had a fair shot.

With his passing this week, there’s a void that will simply never be filled.

“This is going to be difficult to fill the shoes of such a giant in the house and here in Florida,” said former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsell-Powell.

Mucarsell-Powell said all eyes will be on Congressman Hastings’ seat.

She’s confident Democrats will hold onto it, but with Florida Republicans in charge of drawing the new congressional maps, she said it is possible whoever runs for the office in 2022 will have a more competitive race than in years past.

It’s up to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to call for a special election.

The congresswoman said he should do so before the new congressional map is finalized this fall.

“The people, the constituents of Alcee Hastings’ district, they deserve proper representation in the house,” Mucarsell-Powell said.

Hastings’ death now leaves Democrats with a mere six vote advantage over Republicans in the House of Representatives.

According to the Miami Herald, there are already more than a half dozen names being floated around for a possible replacement.

They include Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, State Senator Perry Thurston, State Senator Shevrin Jones, former State Senator Chris Smith, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness and Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.

Mucarsell-Powell’s advice to anyone looking to fill the seat…

“Campaign from your heart. Do it because you want to be a true public servant the way that Alcee campaigned, the way that Alcee served,” she said.

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