Politics

Democratic Candidate for Tom Rooney’s Florida Seat Dies Unexpectedly

April Freeman was expected to face Republican Greg Steube in November

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., is retiring after five terms. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

April Freeman, a Democrat who was running for retiring Rep. Tom Rooney’s Florida seat, has died unexpectedly, according to media reports Monday.

Her husband, David Freeman, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that his wife appeared to have had a heart attack Sunday night.

While Freeman’s name will remain on the 17th District ballot, Florida Democrats will be allowed, under state law, to designate a replacement.

“The Democratic Party will have the opportunity to designate a nominee to fill the vacancy. A notice will be provided to voters indicating that a vote for the former party nominee will be counted for the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee,” Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of State, said in an email. 

Freeman, 54, a film and television producer and co-founder of a political consulting firm, easily won the Democratic nomination in August to face Republican Greg Steube. This was her second attempt at the seat — she lost to Rooney by 28 points in 2016. 

Accentuating the difficult task she faced in flipping a district that backed President Donald Trump by 27 points, Freeman had raised only $28,000 through the pre-primary reporting period that ended Aug. 8 compared to $527,000 for Steube.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 17th District race Solid Republican.

Watch: Democrats Could Gain Up to 8 Governor Seats in 2018

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