SUN SENTINEL: Gary Farmer easy choice in Florida Senate 34

After a brutal Democratic primary win, Gary Farmer isn't quite in the Florida Senate yet. But he might as well be running unopposed in the general election.

Farmer's opponent, Republican Antoaneta Iotova, is non-existent on the campaign trail. The Sun Sentinel has been unable to reach her.

Her website, which resembles a low-quality AOL homepage from the 1990s, says she's a "professional businesswoman." She calls herself the nation's "new direction" and "new beginning." It also features photos from a Donald Trump rally.

On her website, Iotova says she's running for office "to guard our country from any kind of tyranny that is pouring through the borders and poisons our brains like facisim(sic), communism, radicalism" — not exactly state issues that will impact the newly redrawn District 34, which covers Broward's east-side communities, from Deerfield Beach to Hollywood.

Farmer, a trial attorney and political novice who received our endorsement in the primary, once again has our support.

He won the August primary against Jim Waldman and Gwyn Clarke-Reed in what was the state's most expensive Democratic primary.
 
It was especially contentious between Farmer and Waldman, a former state representative. They spent millions of dollars bombarding voters with mailers in a fight over who was the more progressive candidate in a heavily Democratic district.

Farmer secured a convincing win, with 43.2 percent of the vote — 15 points ahead of both Clarke-Reed and Farmer.

Farmer, a founding partner of a law firm that specializes in consumer protection litigation, has never run for office. But he was a regular presence in Tallahassee.

He's the former president of the Florida Justice Association. In that role, he fought efforts to limit medical malpractice awards and worker's compensation payouts.

Farmer will bring energy to Senate Democrats, who've been in the minority for years. Indeed, his will be a smart, strong voice in Tallahassee.

Farmer plans to sponsor legislation to ban assault-style weapons in Florida and eliminate the gun-show loophole. Those bills would be largely symbolic in the Republican-led Legislature, but it's important to have the debate.

He supports increasing public education funding, expanding Medicaid, revoking the state's Stand Your Ground law, passing more stringent environmental protections and placing tighter regulations on the state's homeowner insurance companies to curb rising consumer costs.

Farmer would make a strong candidate against any opponent. In this race, he's the only real choice.


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