Ruth’s List Florida announced Thursday that it’s backing Tampa lawyer Karen Skyers in the four-way Democratic primary for House District 61, an open seat now held by Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw.
“Karen is an attorney, former assistant public defender, children rights advocate and champion of criminal justice reform. She has served District 61 as a former Legislative Aide to state Senator Arthenia Joyner, and she supports strengthening public schools, health care for all, and safe and affordable housing,” said Pamela Goodman, executive director of Ruth’s List Florida. “The Ruth’s List community — now tens of thousands of members strong — is excited to support her candidacy.”
Ruth’s List Florida is a Democratic Party-aligned group that supports female candidates for public office. It takes its name from Ruth Bryan Owen, the first woman elected to Congress from the South.
“I am grateful to the grassroots aid Ruth’s List Florida provides Democratic women in Florida. I am so proud to receive Ruth’s List’s endorsement,” Skyers said. “It not only signals their support of my candidacy but the support of a strong and powerful advocacy group committed to bringing about the change we need here in Florida — one woman at a time.”
Skyers is up against Dianne Hart, Norman Harris and Sharon Carter in the Democratic primary. The winner of that contest will be Shaw’s de facto replacement in the Tampa-based Democratic stronghold, though they will be nominally opposed by write-in candidate Valion Joyce in November.
Florida law allows all voters to participate in primary elections if all candidates are members of the same party, however Joyce’s entry into the race nullifies that rule. HD 61 is one of five state legislative districts this cycle that had its primary locked down by a write-in candidate.
As of July 6, Skyers led in overall receipts with more than $55,000 raised since she entered the race in April. She has about $26,500 on hand including a $500 loan.
Hart, the first-in candidate, holds the advantage in cash on hand with $33,500 banked off of $25,000 in contributions and another $15,000 in candidate loans. She took Shaw to the wire in the 2016 Democratic Primary, losing out by just 101 votes.
Harris is in a distant third in the money race with $17,500 raised and $5,500 banked, followed by Carter with $5,120 raised — half of it loans — and $1,065 on hand.
The primary election is Aug. 28.