Florida House Democrats elect Parkland’s Hunschofsky as their next leader

Democrats in the Florida House of Representatives have selected state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky of Parkland as their leader starting with the 2026 elections.

At that point, she’ll be tasked with leading a minority party in Tallahassee, which is completely controlled by Republicans. Victory for Democrats in coming elections would be narrowing the Republicans’ dominance in the state House.

As Democratic leader — technically minority party leaders, assuming Republicans retain control — Hunschofsky will be tasked with articulating the party’s positions and attempting to exert whatever influence they can muster over legislation in the House.

“I love this work. I don’t love everything that comes out of the process, but I feel so honored to be a part of this process and I feel so honored to be part of this Democratic caucus where we have so much talent and so many members who work so hard to serve the people of Florida in the best way possible,” she said Friday morning in a phone interview.

Her colleagues elected her Thursday evening in Tallahassee.

Hunschofsky is used to the public spotlight. She was the mayor of Parkland, and thus the face of the city, on Feb. 14, 2018, when a gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Gun safety issues have been a top priority of hers in the Legislature.

During the 2020 presidential primaries, she was one of the most prominent South Florida elected officials to support the candidacy of Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and currently U.S. secretary of transportation. She made several trips to Iowa and New Hampshire on his behalf.

“It’s easy to stay home and yell at the television” or post on social media, Hunschofsky said at the time. “I like to focus on what I can do and contributions I can make as opposed to be frustrated about things I can’t control or can’t contribute to.”

That approach marks her style in the Legislature. She isn’t a firebrand offering constant criticisms of Republican policies she doesn’t like. Instead, she’s focuses more on quietly working with Republicans to pass legislation.

Asked about her approach, she said she’ll be loudly vocal when needed, adding, “I like to discuss ideas. I like to discuss the people that we serve. And that has traditionally been my focus.”

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Hunschofsky, 54, is now considered leader-designate for the 2027-28 term. After this year’s elections, her priority for 2025 and 2026 will be raising money and developing strategy to help her party’s 2026 candidates, with the objective of increasing the ranks of Democrats in the Florida House.

She was elected to the House in 2020, after serving as mayor and earlier a city commissioner.

Currently she’s the Democratic whip, a leadership position, and is the top Democrat on the Infrastructure Strategies Committee and Insurance & Banking Committee.

State Rep. Kelly Skidmore, a Palm Beach County Democrat, was an unsuccessful candidate for the job, losing to Hunschofsky in the caucus vote.

Hunschofsky praised Skidmore. “Representative Skidmore was professional, gave me a big hug upon the election results, and I look forward to continue to working with her as she is such an important member of our caucus.”

The current House Democratic leader, state Rep. Fentrice Driskell of Tampa, said in a statement that Hunschovsky “has demonstrated a commitment to building on what we’ve started.”

Anthony Man can be reached at aman@sunsentinel.com and can be found @browardpolitics on Bluesky, Threads, Facebook and Post.news.

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