There may be no more competitive race for Congress anywhere next year than the one for Florida’s 10th Congressional District, where three vibrant criminal justice reform crusaders want to replace Rep. Val Demings.
Sen. Randolph Bracy, civil rights attorney Natalie Jackson, who both announced their candidacies Tuesday, and former State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who’s announcing her candidacy Wednesday, are all Democrats.
And for now, that’s where the competition lies, in the Democratic primary, as Demings turns her sights to the U.S. Senate.
Republicans’ only realistic prospect would require that redistricting completely redefines CD 10 as something other than a solidly blue district. That’s not likely, as calculus probably suggests that Republicans would have an easier chance of expanding their dominance by redrawing maps to dump more Democratic voters into CD 10 from neighboring districts, not the other way around.
Bracy’s positioned as the natural favorite, as he and his family have been almost iconic in their service of western Orange County for decades. And in this crowd, he’s moderate. His record in the Legislature includes both successes working across the aisle and moments of standing steadfast against some Republican affronts to voting rights and protests. Yet Jackson’s background looks like a Hollywood script, and Ayala’s national platform and her oratory presence shouldn’t be underestimated.
It’s not unlike the last time this district was up for grabs. In 2016, then-Sen. Geraldine Thompson and former Democratic Party Chair Bob Poe both looked formidable, and lawyer Fatima Fahmy was a spirited dark horse. Those campaigns got ugly. But Demings blew them all away, winning the Democratic primary by 37 points over second-place Thompson.
The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity & Economic Opportunity Solution Summit kicks off at 9 a.m. today.
The Chamber has produced mountains of research on poverty levels in each corner of the state, down to the ZIP code level.
The same research has also identified several root causes for generational poverty in Florida. The top-10: jobs, education, housing, health, food, safety, child care, justice, transportation and agency-community voice.
The Prosperity & Economic Opportunity Solution Summit will bring together top officials in government, business and from within Florida communities to analyze a path to prosperity for each of Florida’s ZIP codes and to share best practices from around the state and how they can be replicated elsewhere.
The event will open with Chamber President Mark Wilson‘s remarks and a presentation from the Chamber’s chief economist, Dr. Jerry Parrish, titled “Who Benefits from Helping People Out of Poverty.”
Speakers will include Florida Department of Education Chancellor Henry Mack, CFO Jimmy Patronis, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Principal Adviser Brittany Birken, CareerSource Florida CEO Michelle Dennard, Department of Economic Opportunity Director Dane Eagle, Enterprise Florida President and CEO Jamal Sowell, and Feeding Florida Executive Director Robin Safley.
Topics on the agenda include the fight for equality of opportunity, policy solutions that aid prosperity, the economic and business case for prosperity, tried and true promising practices across Florida’s business community, and how Florida businesses can unite to create prosperity in their ZIP codes, among others.
A co-founder of one of Washington’s most successful Democratic lobbying firms is joining Ballard Partners.
John O’Hanlon is one of the founders of The Washington Group, a Washington-based lobbying and advocacy firm. In that role, he successfully represented a who’s who of Fortune 500 Companies, associations, governments and causes.
O’Hanlon has more than 30 years of hands-on political, advocacy, business and entrepreneurial experience. Over the years, he has worked with civil rights leaders and activists to advance the engagement of diverse communities in political, civic and educational processes.
He has also personally represented clients before the President, members of Congress, staff and government officials at all levels.
“John’s vast experience in Washington’s halls of power for more than three decades brings a unique dimension to our firm’s capabilities in the nation’s capital,” firm founder and President Brian Ballard said. “His long-standing reputation and work on behalf of Democratic leadership will be invaluable in assisting our clients with issues on both sides of the aisle.”
Ballard Partners rocketed to new heights under the Trump administration, and its bipartisan staff has allowed it to continue that success since Democrats took over Congress and the White House.
O’Hanlon joins many other former high-ranking Democratic officials in Ballard Partners’ Washington office, including former U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, City of Boston Corporation Counsel Eugene O’Flaherty, former Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Ana Cruz, and the recently hired Tola Thompson, a former chief of staff to Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson.