Florida

What's In a Name? Broward Republicans Select Chris Smithmyer to Challenge Democrat Chris Smith

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In apparent attempt to sow confusion among voters in the upcoming November elections, Broward County Republicans have selected Christopher “Chris” Smithmyer to challenge incumbent Democrat State Sen. Christopher “Chris” Smith in District 31.

District 31 is heavily Democratic and the incumbent Smith appeared to have a smooth path to reelection this November. Smith has been elected by his Senate colleagues to lead the Senate Democrat caucus after the November elections. With Republicans nominating a candidate with a near identical name, however, Democrats are crying foul.

Republicans counter that the challenger Smithmyer is a serious candidate. Smithmyer was expected to be the Republican nominee for House District 100 until the surprise announcement that he would seek Senate District 31 seat instead. Richard DeNapoli, chairman of the Broward Republican party, said this is part of a bigger strategy to target longtime incumbent politicians.

“I was happy to recommend that Mr. Chris Smithmyer take on Sen. Chris Smith… along with Juan Selaya who is taking on Eleanor Sobel … also  Soren Swensen for qualifying to run against Sen. Jeremy Ring.  Thanks to them, the voters in Broward will have a choice this November and these Democrat State Senators will not get a free-ride into office,” DeNapoli told Media Trackers.

Smithmyer, a south Florida attorney, explained to Media Trackers Florida his reasons for running.

“I am running in this race to give people an option. I feel that the system needs more voices so that the voters can pick the voice that meets their view of what society can be,” Smithmyer said.

Smithmyer outlined a vision of smaller state government and more reliance on private sector, free market principles.

“We need the transit system we were promised, though not through the public sector, and we need to ensure that our seniors and disadvantaged people are protected from big government exploitation,” Smithmyer explained. “This is going to be a big year in deciding not only the direction of our nation, but also the direction of our state.  People need to have a choice in an election, and I want to give the people of District 31 of our Florida Senate a choice.”

The incumbent Sen. Smith did not respond to interview requests for this article.

 

Follow Tom Lauder on Twitter: @mediatrackersfl