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Broward County House Seat Gets Two Major Democratic Candidates

June 26, 2013 - 6:00pm

A major Democratic primary is forming in Broward County for an open Florida House seat.

With Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, facing term limits next year, former Rep. Steve Perman filed to run as a Democrat for the seat at the end of February. For four months Perman was the only candidate in the race -- but a new Democratic contender has jumped in the race. Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs, who has served on the Broward County Commission since being elected in 1998, filed her paperwok to run for the House seat on Thursday.

Both Perman and Jacobs are coming off losses in the last election cycle.

As he looked to win his second term in Tallahassee last year, Perman lost a Democratic primary to the man he replaced in the 2010 elections: Kevin Rader. In a rematch of their primary from 2008, Rader won again in 2012, taking 57 percent of the vote.

When they battled in 2012, Perman and Rader faced a changed district. The seat that both men held contained parts of Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. After redistricting in 2012, they now fought for a seat that stretches across Palm Beach County. The seat Perman now has his eye on represents parts of Broward County.

Talking to Sunshine State News on Thursday, Perman said he was proud of his record in Tallahassee and pointed to legislative successes on environmental- and health-related issues despite being a freshman in the minority party. As he looks to return to Tallahassee, Perman said he hopes to represent the best principles of Broward County and his party.

I want to make sure Im representing good Democratic values and those of the people of the district, he said.

Perman said he intends to focus on a range of issues. Noting his background as a chiropractic physician, Perman said his time as the ranking Democrat on the House Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee shows his commitment to health care. He also said he intends to highlight his commitment to education and defending legalized abortion on the campaign trail.

Im focused on ensuring adequate funding for our public school programs, he told Sunshine State News. I want to be an advocate for women to make health care choices for themselves.

Perman had an impressive first month of fundraising, bringing in more than $10,300 between entering the race on Feb. 26 and the end of the quarter on March 31. He has also managed to round up some of the leading Democrats in the area to endorse him. Perman has been backed by two members of Congress -- Lois Frankel and Alcee Hastings -- as well as Waldman and other members of the Broward County delegation in Tallahassee, including Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, Rep. Gwyn Clarke-Reed, D-Pompano Beach, and Rep. Hazel Rogers, D-Lauderhill. Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, has also endorsed Perman.

Jacobs is also coming off a loss in 2012. She challenged Frankel for the Democratic nomination for an open congressional seat. Frankel easily won the primary, taking 61 percent of the vote. But Jacobs has had more than her share of triumphs, repeatedly keeping her seat on the Broward County Commission.

Sunshine State News called Jacobs office on Thursday and a staffer confirmed that Jacobs had filed to run for the Florida House. Messages about the campaign were not returned.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be a heavy favorite to win the general election. Waldman did not face any opposition in the general election in 2012.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at 904-521-3722.

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