Polls close in first of three special congressional contests on Election Day 2021


The polls are now closed in Florida’s heavily blue-leaning 20th congressional district in the race to fill a House of Representatives seat left vacant following the April death of longtime Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings.

Eleven candidates are running in their party’s primary, and the winner of the Democratic contest will be considered the overwhelming favorite in the January 11 general election. Two Republican candidates are running in their party’s primary.

The district includes most of the majority-Black precincts in and around Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, as well as a vast sparsely populated inland area that stretches all the way to the southeastern shores of Lake Okeechobee, including the community of Belle Glade.

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National and state Democrats were critical of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida for not setting the primary date until now and the general election until January. Democrats charged DeSantis delayed scheduling the contest in the overwhelmingly blue district in order to cut the Democrats House majority by one seat.

Polls close at 7:30 pm ET in Ohio, where there are general special elections for two vacant House seats.

In Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, Democratic Cuyahoga County councilwoman Shontel Brown is considered the heavy favorite over Republican businesswoman Laverne Gore in a predominantly Black and overwhelmingly Democratic district that includes large portions of Cleveland and its southern and eastern suburbs, as well as parts of the city of Akron.

The winner will fill the seat left vacant when longtime Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge stepped down this year after being confirmed as Housing and Urban Development secretary in Biden’s administration.

In Ohio’s 15th congressional district, Republican Mike Carey, a longtime energy lobbyist and the chair of the Ohio Coal Association, is favored over Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo in the race to fill a seat left vacant after longtime Republican Rep. Steve Stivers stepped down in May to become president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Then-President Trump carried the red district – which includes parts of southern Columbus and its suburbs, as well as small cities, towns and rural areas in parts of central and southern Ohio – by 14 points in last November’s reelection defeat. 

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Though Russo is the clear underdog, she was endorsed by President Biden on the eve of the election, and Democrats see some hopes of possibly pulling off what would be a major upset.

Trump, whose endorsement helped Carey win a contested GOP primary, held a tele-rally for the Republican nominee on the eve of the election.

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