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Holden secures spot with win in District 19 Democratic Primary

August 28, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

For the first time in years, U.S. Congressional District 19 had a Democratic Primary to celebrate Tuesday.

David Holden pulled ahead of Todd Truax to secure the Democratic nomination. Holden will go on to challenge incumbent Republican Francis Rooney and write-in Pete Pollard in the November general election.

District 19 includes sections of Lee and Collier counties.

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David Holden

When the polls closed, Holden already had a solid lead. Once all the 113 precincts were tallied, Holden had won in Lee County by 65.21 percent with 18,009 votes, and in Collier County by 76.99 percent and 6,381 votes; Truax received 9,606 and 1,907 votes, respectively.

Holden held a watch party at Landsdowne Street Pub in Bonita Springs. After he secured his victory, he went live on Facebook to thank his campaign team and his supporters - and bolstered getting what he called a "slate" of Democratic candidates into office this year. He voiced his optimism for electing a Democratic governor and keeping U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in office in November.

"The people know what they need - clean water and clean air," he said. "We have built a movement here in Southwest Florida that will lead us to victory."

Holden won't be taking a break - he said he and his team will be getting to work again "starting tomorrow morning," with the same tactic he's used on the primary trail: spending time in the district's communities and coming up with solutions, together.

District 19 is a strongly Republican district, but Holden said the constituents he's talked to are "tired of partisan fighting and bickering" on issues that shouldn't be partisan, like the environment and healthcare.

Especially in his district, Holden knows business and environment are woven together.

"The environmental crisis with red tide and blue-green algae have woken people up to how precious our environment and our economy is in this district," he said.

Holden said while the current political climate may be favorable for a Democratic win in November, it would be hard work that will make him the winning candidate.

A Harvard master's grad, Holden co-owns a financial planning firm with his wife, Streeter, in Naples. The couple moved to Naples from California a few years ago.

One of Holden's main platforms is protecting the "lifeblood of Florida's economy - its pure water, clean air, and pristine beaches;" the environment is at the top of his priority list, according to his campaign website. He's also set his stances on other issues such as education, gun safety and healthcare.

Of the 436,915 registered voters in Lee County, 119,357 ballots were cast, making the voter turnout 27.32 percent.

"It's been a great experience, I'm happy to have participated," Truax said Tuesday night. "I've met many great people throughout the district, and I appreciate the effort."

Truax said he wished Holden well in November against incumbent Rooney.

Now that the Democratic candidate has been selected, the Lee County Democratic Club will be getting to work.

Yoseph Tedros, the chair of the local club, said having two Democrats running in both District 19 and 17 was "unheard of." He was happy to see two qualified candidates, with different points of view, stepping into the ring.

"It bodes well for the Democratic party people are stepping up to run," he said.

The Lee County Democratic Party did not endorse a candidate for the primary; it focused on getting party members registered and at the polls to vote.

Now, it has less than three months to hone in on campaigning for Holden.

Talking about environmental issues will be a big part of the coming weeks, Tedros said.

"Twenty years of Republican leadership, what have they done to improve the situation? Nothing," he said. "I think we need a fresh, Democratic approach."

While Congressman Rooney's first term in office has shown results in gaining support - and funding - in Congress for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program, Tedros said he doesn't see Rooney arguing for climate change with the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Maybe for the average Republican he's done something," Tedros said. "You have to look at the big picture. If you look at the party, which party will be more environmentally conscious."

Tedros thinks the General Election in November could be the chance the Democratic party needs to secure some seats - and, just to give voters strong options on the ballot. The current political climate has Democrats "fired up," he said.

"It's an exciting time to be a Democrat," Tedros said.

All election results are unofficial until certified.



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