Democrat Holden vies for 19th Congressional seat again in Republican-heavy district
The numbers say Democrat David Holden lost to Republican Francis Rooney by a wide margin in 2018 — 62% to 38% — for Florida’s 19th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
But Holden told us, if you zoom out and look at the bigger picture, 50,000 more Democratic voters went to the polls then compared to 2014.
“I won independents in this district, and no Democrat has done that in quite a long time,” Holden said.
That’s why Holden plans to run for the seat again in a district dominated by Republicans. Holden says important issues such as the environment and mental health are bipartisan.
“What I’ve been saying to folks is, ‘Listen, I know this is a tough district for a candidate like me, but let’s grab a cup of coffee and doughnut, and let’s talk about it,’” Holden said.
To Republican voters, Holden holds out an olive branch unlike most Democrats.
“I believe that if President Trump is reelected, we’ll find a way to work together,” Holden said. “Because when the president is right, I support him. When I think he is misguided, I say that respectfully.
Holden joins Cindy Lyn Banyails, who is active in environmental issues in the Democratic primary.
There are a handful of Republicans in the race, including Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, Florida Rep. Dane Eagle and Florida Rep. Heather Fitzhagen.
FGCU professor Peter Bergerson predicts Florida Democrats will likely still back and fund Holden. But he believes it’s unlikely a democrat will win the seat.
“I have been involved in politics earlier in my life in New York in a community that was as red as Southwest Florida, and that community is now blue,” Bergerson said. “It’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint.”