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Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Jason Mariner battle for seat in Congress

Special election to decide Florida's 20th Congressional District
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick vs. Jason Mariner for Florida's 20th Congressional District
Posted at 11:35 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 08:34:32-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The special election for Florida's 20th Congressional District will be held Tuesday.

Democratic nominee Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick will face Republican nominee Jason Mariner.

The candidates are vying to fill the congressional seat left vacant since the death of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., last year.

Hastings, who served in the House since 1993, died of pancreatic cancer in April 2021.

Mariner said his No. 1 goal is to "bring prosperity back to District 20."

"People want school choice, job protection, more industry brought to District 20 and they want better, safer, cleaner, drug-free streets," Mariner told WPTV. "That's not a tall order and it's not a lot to ask in America."

WATCH: Full interview with Jason Mariner

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A former drug addict and convict, Mariner regained his right to vote, co-founded a recovery center and went on to become the CEO of a company called AdSkinz.

Cherfilus-McCormick's platform included her proposed People's Prosperity Plan, which would provide permanent $1,000 economic recovery checks for anyone 18 or older who makes less than $75,000 annually.

But Mariner said that's not realistic.

"It's going to add a trillion dollars a year to federal spending, it's going to drive inflation through the roof and it's just not feasible," he told WPTV.

Cherfilus-McCormick, who is the CEO of Trinity Health Care Services, told WPTV she'll be fighting for economic and social justice in the district.

WATCH: Full interview with Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick: 'We need a strong Democrat in Congress'

"We don't see the same amount of women-led companies, small companies, minority-owned companies who are having access to federal funding and grant opportunities," she said.

Florida's 20th Congressional District spans across Broward and Palm Beach counties and has about 345,000 eligible voters.

The winner of the election will fill out the remainder of Hastings' term. He or she will face re-election in November.