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Candidates seeking to fill Alcee Hastings' congressional seat participate in Democratic primary forum

10 Democratic candidates vying to win special election
Bobby DuBose, Dale Holness, Priscilla Taylor and Perry Thurston
Posted at 2:28 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 22:28:51-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ten of the 11 Democratic candidates hoping to replace former U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., in Congress will took part in a public forum Thursday night.

The Democratic candidates for Florida's 20th Congressional District are vying to fill the seat left vacant since Hastings, who served in the House since 1993, died of pancreatic cancer in April.

Alcee Hastings in December 2019
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., speaks during a House Rules Committee hearing on the impeachment against President Donald Trump, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Who are the candidates?

Of the 11 Democratic candidates, 10 of them are scheduled to participate in the forum, hosted by the Urban League of Palm Beach and Broward counties, ahead of the Nov. 2 primary election.

They are, in alphabetical order by last name, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, the CEO of Trinity Health Care Services; Elvin Dowling, a West Palm Beach native and former aide to Hastings; state Rep. Bobby DuBose, the Florida House minority leader; state Rep. Omari Hardy, from West Palm Beach; Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, who was once endorsed by Hastings; Phil Jackson, a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer; Emmanuel Morel, the former president of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Palm Beach County; Broward County Commissioner Barbera Sharief, who previously served as the county's first Black mayor; Priscilla Taylor, a former state legislator and Palm Beach County commissioner; and state Sen. Perry Thurston, who represents portions of Broward County.

Imran Siddiqui is the lone Democratic candidate who won't be participating. A spokeswoman for the Urban League said they were all offered the opportunity.

When is the forum?

The forum will be held at 6 p.m. at the Urban League of Broward County. It can be seen live on, WPTV's Facebook page and WPTV's other digital properties.

What else do I need to know?

Two Republicans in the heavily leaning Democratic district are also seeking the office.

For a detailed list of important dates, early voting locations and other pertinent information about the special election, click here.