With buzz growing that U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., will run for governor in 2018 instead of a fourth term in Congress, Democrat Nancy Soderberg announced on Wednesday that she would run for the congressional seat he currently holds.
Soderberg served as former deputy national security advisor and on the National Security Council during President Bill Clinton’s first term. In his second term, Clinton named Soderberg as an alternate representative to the United Nations where she often represented the U.S. on the Security Council. She currently leads the Public Service Leadership Program at the University of North Florida.
“People here in Florida are hurting — their wages are stagnating while their cost of living is rising,” Soderberg said on Wednesday. “But instead of working to find solutions and connect Floridians with better paying jobs, politicians in Washington are pushing a reckless and divisive agenda that would leave people living with pre-existing conditions without protections, raise costs for older Americans, and throw 70,000 citizens in our district alone off health insurance coverage.
“In Congress, I’ll fight to make sure your voice is heard. I’ll focus on growing our economy, supporting small business, making college more affordable and protecting our environment,” she added. “We have a choice to make this election – business as usual – or new voices that will bring badly needed change. I’m ready to be a part of that change.”
This marks Soderberg’s second attempt for elected office in Northeast Florida. She ran for an open state Senate seat in 2012 but, despite that being a good year for Democrats as President Barack Obama carried the Sunshine State and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., was reelected, she was utterly routed by Republican Aaron Bean. Soderberg pulled 38 percent in the solidly Republican district while Bean took 62 percent.
Soderberg is again facing an uphill climb as the district, which runs along the Atlantic seaboard covering St. Johns and Flagler counties and parts of Putnam and Volusia counties, has solidly backed Republicans in recent years. After getting out of the U.S. Senate race when U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., decided to run for a second term, DeSantis took 58.6 percent of the vote in November while Democrat William McCullough garnered 41.4 percent.
If DeSantis decides to run for governor in 2018, possible Republican contenders to replace him include former state Rep. Fred Costello, businessman G.G. Galloway and political activist and Navy veteran Brandon Patty.