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Politics

Open South Florida House Race Gets More Crowded as Ben Sorensen Joins Dem Primary

August 26, 2013 - 6:00pm

A new candidate has jumped into the increasingly crowded Democratic primary to replace term-limited Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Pembroke Park, in representing parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties in Tallahassee.

Ben Sorensen, a businessman, pastor, community activist and officer in the Navy Reserve, filed to enter the race as a Democrat at the end of last week. Sorensen joins former North Bay Village Mayor Joe Geller, Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Alex Lewy and teacher John Paul Alvarez who are seeking the Democratic nomination to replace Gibbons. Whoever emerges in the Democratic primary in 2014 will be a heavy favorite to head up to Tallahassee. No Republicans are currently running for this seat which represents a solid Democratic district.

Sorensen pointed to his wide array of experiences as good preparation for office.

I am a former high school teacher, a small-business owner, an associate pastor, and a member of the United States Navy, Sorensen told Sunshine State News on Tuesday. Being a former teacher and a product of Florida public schools, I am passionate about education and [the] transformative role education can play in every student's life. I have seen the challenges and success of students and teachers firsthand and I believe together we can make our schools second to none.

Sorensen also pointed to his business background as good preperation for serving in Tallahassee.

I am also a small-business owner and I know the struggles that so many are facing today in challenging economic times, he told Sunshine State News. We can work together to increase job creation and support small and large business in our community. Lastly, serving in the United States Navy for the last five years has taught me much about sacrifice and a calling to serve our community and our country.

Sorensen also weighed in on why he has entered the race. I am running for the Florida House of Representatives because I am called to service, he told Sunshine State News. I believe that together we can make a difference and that we can create a bright future for our community and our state.

As he enters the race, Sorensen will have to play catchup in the money chase as some of his rivals have a solid head start. Geller had around $74,700 on hand at the end of June. Lewy had around $33,200 on hand at the end of June. At the end of June, Alvarez had around $10,700 on hand.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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