Voters in District 94 chose Daryl Campbell to represent them in Florida’s House of Representatives.
A resident of Lauderdale Lakes, soon to be Fort Lauderdale, the clinical social worker won with 40% of the vote during the Jan. 11 special election. Almost 12,500 people turned out to vote.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Campbell, 35, said. “I was definitely grateful and thankful that our message resonated to a lot of people in the community, and so it was very humbling to say the least, that I got the support of that many people.”
Campbell beat out Josephus Eggelletion III (29.09%), Elijah Manley (25.9%), and Rod Kemp (5.72%). The District 94 seat represents residents of Wilton Manors, Oakland Park, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes and Plantation. However, with redistricting talks this session, that might change.
All four candidates ran as Democrats, meaning Campbell wins the seat and there is no need for a general election to follow. However, this leads to a new issue: Campbell may not be seated until March, when there would have been a general election to be certified by the Florida Secretary of State. Because of the uncertainty, Campbell said he is putting this semester at Howard University on pause, where he is earning a Ph.D. He also said he will be running again in August during the regular election.
“I just can’t give that up,” he said. “I refuse to give just six months of my time to our constituents who overwhelmingly voted for me. I’m not a part-time worker.”
The special election was prompted when Rep. Alcee Hastings died in April 2021. Bobby DuBose, who was state representative for District 94, had his eye on the congressional seat and would have had to resign on January 11, 2022.
Candidate Manley, who received the endorsement of the Sun Sentinel, sued Gov. Ron DeSantis to hold a special election to ensure that residents would not go unrepresented for nearly eight months. At the end of October, DeSantis ordered a special election, giving candidates less than three months to educate voters. It also forced Oakland Park Mayor Michael E. Carn, who was also running for the spot, to drop out of the special election; otherwise, he would have to step down as mayor the day after he was rotated into the seat.
In the meantime, Campbell’s first order of business is to reach out to the elected officials of the cities he represents, including school board members, to make sure that they are properly represented in Tallahassee. He has a special interest in access to education and health care.
“I’m trying to be as inclusive as possible, I’m trying to leave out one single city,” he said. “I want to make sure we put ourselves first.”