Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has set a special election date to fill the vacant congressional seat occupied by the late Representative Alcee Hastings.
DeSantis told a news conference in Miami on Tuesday that the primary election would be scheduled for November 2 and would be followed by a general election on January 11.
Hastings, 84, died last month after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was first elected to Congress in 1992.
Crowded field: Hastings represented a district which included parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. The seat is in a safe Democratic neighborhood, and the winner of the primary will likely make it to Congress. Several candidates jumped in the race, including three lawmakers, two Broward County commissioners and a former Palm Beach lawmaker.
Complaints: DeSantis waited nearly a month before announcing plans to set a special election date, a move that drew complaints from Democrats. They speculated that the governor was delaying a final decision in order to keep the seat vacant as long as possible. After Hastings’ death, Democrats have only a six-vote majority in the US House.
The final dates chosen by DeSantis match those suggested in April by Broward County Election Supervisor Joe Scott.