Lois Frankel re-elected unopposed as Florida sets congressional ballot


U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, automatically won a fourth term in Congress without opposition while the three other members of Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation drew a variety of challengers as Florida’s filing period for federal candidates ended Friday.

Florida’s biggest congressional prize, the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, will be contested by Republican Gov. Rick Scott. But before Scott can take on Nelson, he’ll face a Republican primary challenge from former Democrat and former Reform Party candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente. De La Fuente lost a 2016 Democratic primary bid for Senate, then got on the general election ballot as the Reform Party candidate for president and got 0.1 percent of the vote in Florida

Candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. House were required to submit paperwork and pay a $10,440 filing fee by noon Friday to qualify for the 2018 ballot. Judicial candidates faced a Friday deadline as well. The qualifying period for candidates for state and local offices in Florida is June 18-22.

Frankel, who represents a Democratic-leaning Palm Beach County seat, automatically won a new term when no other candidates qualified for the ballot in District 21. Republican Kurt Jetta opened a campaign for the seat last year but dropped out in February. Another Republican, attorney Derek Schwartz, announced a candidacy in February but said Thursday he was dropping out “due to unforseen circumstances.”

Freshman U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, already bracing for stiff Democratic opposition in November, will have to contend with two Republican primary challengers in his Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18. The winner of the GOP primary will face the winner of a Democratic primary between attorney Pam Keith and former Obama administration foreign policy adviser Lauren Baer.

U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, both drew Democratic primary challenges from politically unknown candidates.

Deutch’s Palm Beach-Broward District 22 was carried by Hillary Clinton by 16 points in 2016, but that did not deter three Republicans from filing for the seat.

No Republicans filed for 13-term incumbent Hastings’ District 20 seat. Jay Bonner, who ran in 2014 as a Republican against Hastings and got 18.4 percent of the vote, filed for the District 20 seat this year as a write-in candidate. That means the winner of the Aug. 28 primary between Hastings and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick will appear on the November general election ballot along with a blank space for write-ins.

Five write-in candidates also qualified for Florida’s U.S. Senate race.



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