DeSantis, who has remained silent for weeks on when voters could expect to elect Hastings’s successor, announced that primaries in Florida’s 20th Congressional District will take place on Nov. 2, with a general election being held on Jan. 11.
Hastings’s district is considered safe territory for Democrats, and the party’s eventual nominee is likely to win the general election next year. But the schedule for the special election means that residents of Florida’s 20th, a majority Black district in South Florida, will have to wait at least another eight months for representation in Washington.
The timeline set by DeSantis flies in the face of calls from local officials and candidates for the seat who have urged him to hold the election quickly.
Wendy Link, the supervisor of elections in Palm Beach County, proposed that the governor call a primary on Sept. 14, with a general election on Nov. 9. Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, one of the Democrats running to replace Hastings, had called for a primary to be held in August, with the general election happening in November.
Hastings died in early April after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 84 years old.
The special election schedule also carries national political ramifications. Democrats currently hold one of the slimmest House majorities in decades, and the vacancy in Hastings’s seat means one fewer Democratic vote in the lower chamber for the rest of 2021.