April Freeman, the Democratic candidate in Florida’s Congressional District 17, died Sunday night, her husband announced on Facebook. She was 54.
“It’s with great sadness that I feel I must inform all of you that my beloved wife April passed away suddenly last night,” David Freeman posted on Facebook Monday afternoon. “To all of her family and friends here on Facebook, my heart aches with you.” ‘
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo noted Freeman was in the office Sunday night “making calls and working to get out the vote” and pointed to her work ethic. “We are incredibly saddened by the sudden death of April Freeman,” Rizzo said in a statement. “April put her heart and soul into her community — and was dedicated to making a better future for all Floridians.”
With the Nov. 6 election approaching, a replacement candidate will be chosen by the county Democratic chairs in the Republican-leaning district, which includes all or parts of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Lee, Okeechobee, Polk and Sarasota counties. State law gives the chairs five days to call a meeting once formally notified by the state party chairwoman. Elections supervisors have already mailed ballots to many overseas and military voters, so Freeman’s name will remain on the ballot. State Division of Elections spokeswoman Sarah Revell said a notice will be sent to voters in the district indicating that a vote for Freeman would be counted for the person designated by the party.
Freeman, of Cape Coral, was running against state Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, to replace Congressman Tom Rooney, who declined to seek re-election this year. Freeman, who ran unsuccessfully against Rooney in 2016, easily won the Democratic primary with 77 percent of the vote. Freeman owned a company focused on film and television production and was a 2013 graduate of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.