Process to Replace April Freeman as Congressional Candidate is on hold until at least Monday

Florida Democratic Party officials have been forced to delay selection of a replacement candidate in the election of FL US Representative Dist. 17 until at least Monday. United States District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich ordered the delay at the request of two potential candidates, Pam Keith, and Roy David Walker.

Two prospective US Rep. Dist. 17 candidates assert their right to compete for Congressional seat. Pam Keith (left), Roy D. Walker (right)

The delay was announced during a 10 AM Saturday conference call among Party officers. A Democratic Party attorney says Judge Kovachevich granted a stay to Keith and Walker because of their challenge to a state statute that prohibits candidates in other 2018 primary elections from running in another 2018 race. Keith was defeated in the Dist. 18 Democratic primary. Walker lost the Democratic primary for State Agriculture Commissioner.

Saturday’s conference call was originally scheduled to select the replacement for April Freeman, who died Sunday, Sept. 23rd. Freeman had been elected in the August Democratic Party primary, after defeating Bill Pollard.

Bill Pollard

Freeman’s death left the Democratic Party without a candidate in the 17th District Congressional contest against Republican candidate Greg Steube. Several candidates, including Keith, Walker, and Pollard had expressed interest in running in Freeman’s place.

Greg Steube, GOP candidate for US Rep., Dist. 17

Ballots have already been printed for the November 6th election, so Freeman’s name will remain on the ballot. Votes cast for her will be counted for the successor, whoever that may be.

In announcing the delay, Florida Democratic Chair Terrie Rizzo said a phone conference among the Executive Committee members from eight counties within District 17 will be rescheduled for next week. At that time, the DEC members will be asked to vote among candidates. Before then, Judge Kovachevich is expected to rule on whether Keith and Walker are allowed to compete among the field of candidates considered for nomination.

Charlotte County DEC members are urged to monitor their emails for announcements by the FDP.

Editor’s note: Below is the state statute (100.111, subparagraph 3) that is being challenged by Keith and Walker. Their contention is that it conflicts with the US Constitution, which addresses who can compete for a Congressional seat.

Editor’s note: The US Constitution sets only three restrictions about who can be a Representative.