Elections 2020,  Local

Adam Christensen Wins Democratic Primary As Youngest Candidate and First Progressive in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District

Adam Christensen was announced winner of the Democratic primary for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District with 34.5% of the vote. Christensen became the youngest Democratic nominee running for Congress in the nation as well as the first progressive to win District FL-03’s primary.

“I coached high school soccer in the past, and winning the primary felt like we had just scored a goal in the 90th minute to win the game after being down the whole time,” Christensen told the Florida Political Review.

Christensen is now running against the Republican nominee, Kat Cammack, who was the former campaign manager and deputy chief of staff for Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla). Cammack emerged as the winner from the 10-person Republican primary after running a campaign focused on supporting President Trump’s platform.

“Kat Cammack refused to stand up when [Yoho] refused to make lynching a federal crime or claimed that the Civil Rights Act was unconstitutional. When he verbally assaulted a congresswoman on the steps of the capitol, [Cammack] refused to say anything. If she won’t even stand up for herself… [or] for women like her, then she won’t stand up for everyone in Washington. She hasn’t stood up in Washington for eight years,” Christensen stated.

In the past four elections, Yoho won his seat as the representative of Florida’s District 3, earning 57.6% of the vote in 2018 against Democratic candidate Yvonne Hayes Hinson in 2018. In December 2019, Yoho announced that he would not be running for reelection.

Christensen would be the first Democrat to be FL-03’s representative since 2010 if he wins in November. He outlined the importance of different electorates to his campaign throughout District FL-03.

“There are 90,000 NPA [no party affiliation] and independent voters in this district… almost 40,000 Latino voters that have never been talked to, 40,000 independent conservative women who are furious at the way they have been treated, and an entire group of people [making] $14,000 each year. Until you start focusing on them and make sure they can live the American Dream, you should not be in Washington,” said Christensen.

Christensen, who had been a Republican for the majority of his life, cited growing up as an avid member of the Baptist Church as one of the main reasons he pursued his progressive platform.

“The people who taught me to ‘treat others how you want to be treated’ didn’t actually behave like that when it came to politics. I saw a bunch of people who went to church once a week and on the six other days of the week were a totally different person, and I couldn’t do that anymore,” Christensen said.

As a small business owner in Gainesville, Christensen elaborated on his inability to afford health care for his employees. Due to that encounter, Christensen became a strong proponent for universal health care as a human right throughout his campaign.

On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health announced that Florida’s COVID-19 death toll had reached 13,000 along with a 26% surge of cases among children under 18. Christensen’s concern with the COVID-19 pandemic has also been a key focus of his campaign.

“The question isn’t how do you control the coronavirus, it’s how do we make sure we get out of this and are built sustainably to be able to get out of something like this in the future. The United States [does] not have a foundation to get out of a disaster and make sure everyone has their bases covered,” Christensen said.

In recent weeks, protests against police brutality have intensified following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which renewed discussion of the Defund the Police movement within the Christensen campaign.

“We have defunded our schools, health services, and all of the basics in our lives that would prevent crime and instead decided we would rather pay for the consequences of those things,” said Christensen.

In addition to running on a progressive platform, Christensen ran his campaign alongside more than 50 campaign volunteers and organizers, all under the age of 23. The nature of Christensen’s youth-led campaign has continued the trend of other youth-led movements such as the environmental justice Sunrise movement and gun violence March for Our Lives movement seen in recent years.

“[The youth] realize we are fighting for ourselves, because if we don’t do it now, we won’t have the future that we want. Our backs are against the wall, and it’s either we lie down and die or we come out swinging,” Christensen said. “We have been told that there’s an American dream, but we’ve never seen it. So that’s what we want to build.”  

Note: Republican candidate Kat Cammack was contacted various times to be interviewed for this article and did not respond.

Featured image: An image of the U.S. Capitol’s South side. Unmodified photo by Martin Jacobsen used under a Creative Commons license. (https://bit.ly/2RwdTqK)

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