Republican leaves SD 35 race, setting up open Primary between Lauren Book, Barbara Sharief.
The Aug. 23 contest between Book and Sharief will be open to all voters.
Republican candidate Vincent Parlatore has successfully redesignated his candidacy, moving from the Senate District 35 contest to the race for House District 105. That means a showdown between Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book and former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief will now be an open Primary.
Typically, Florida’s Primaries are closed to voters of that same party, meaning Democrats can only vote in the Democratic Primary, Republicans in the Republican Primary, with third-party voters shut out.
But contests featuring members of only one party in Florida become open Primaries, where voters of any party registration can vote. Book and Sharief, both Democrats, are now the only candidates running in SD 35. That means the Aug. 23 contest between Book and Sharief will be open to voters of all stripes, which could impact the outcome as Book faces her first-ever election challenge since running for, and winning, a Senate seat in 2016.
Parlatore was a late entrant into the SD 35 contest, submitting his statement of candidate paperwork on May 31, less than three weeks before the qualifying deadline. His candidacy would have ensured the SD 35 Democratic Primary was closed to only Democratic voters.
But on June 15, just two days before the qualifying deadline, Parlatore submitted a request to swap to the HD 105 contest. Parlatore’s documents switching to the House race were marked as “received” on qualifying day, June 17.
He is now the only Republican in the HD 105 race, while Democratic candidate Imran Uddin Siddiqui mounts a Primary challenge against Democratic Rep. Marie Woodson.
Book is raising an abundance of cash in the SD 35 race, and has hired a slate of top consultants for the contest. She has also earned widespread endorsements from environmentalists, LGBTQ advocates, police officers and most of her 15 Democratic Senate colleagues.
Sharief ran last year in the Special Primary Election for the seat in Florida’s 20th Congressional District while facing term limits on the Broward County Commission. She had been considering another run for Congress, but the redistricting process also drew her out of the district analogous to CD 20. That led her to mount a run for the Senate and a rare challenge to a party colleague in a leadership position.
Book, who represents the currently drawn Senate District 32, moved her home to avoid a contest against Sen. Rosalind Osgood in the newly drawn SD 32.
SD 35 covers parts of Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Weston and Southwest Ranches.