Democratic candidate for Florida congressional seat dies unexpectedlySeptember 24, 2018 9:16pm

Sept. 24-- WASHINGTON-April Freeman, a Democrat who was running for retiring Rep. Tom Rooney's Florida seat, has died unexpectedly, according to media reports Monday.

Her husband, David Freeman, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that his wife appeared to have had a heart attack Sunday night.

While Freeman's name will remain on the 17th District ballot, Florida Democrats will be allowed, under state law, to designate a replacement.

"The Democratic Party will have the opportunity to designate a nominee to fill the vacancy. A notice will be provided to voters indicating that a vote for the former party nominee will be counted for the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee," Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of State, said in an email.

Freeman, 54, a film and television producer and co-founder of a political consulting firm, easily won the Democratic nomination in August to face Republican Greg Steube. This was her second attempt at the seat-she lost to Rooney by 28 points in 2016.

Accentuating the difficult task she faced in flipping a district that backed President Donald Trump by 27 points, Freeman had raised only $28,000 through the pre-primary reporting period that ended Aug. 8 compared with $527,000 for Steube.

Roll Call's Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 17th District race "solid Republican."

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