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Democratic congressional candidate dies at 54

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A Florida Democrat running for the U.S. House of Representatives in a heavily Republican district has died a little more than six weeks before the November elections, the state’s Democratic Party said on Monday.

April Freeman, 54, who worked as a writer and producer in the film industry, died of an apparent heart attack, local media quoted her husband as saying.

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She had been due to face Republican state Senator Greg Steube in the Nov. 6 elections to succeed Tom Rooney, a Republican who decided not to seek a sixth term in Congress. State law allows party officials five days to convene a meeting to name a replacement candidate.

Political analysts view the central Florida district as solidly Republican, meaning it is unlikely to be a factor in Democrats’ attempt to win the 23 House seats they need to take a majority in that chamber and act as a check on Republican President Donald Trump’s agenda.

“We are incredibly saddened by the sudden death of April Freeman,” Florida Democratic Chair Terrie Rizzo said in a statement on Monday. “Just last night she was in the office, making calls and working to get out the vote.”

The cause of death appeared to be a heart attack, although that was not certain, the Herald-Tribune newspaper of Sarasota quoted Freeman’s husband, David Freeman, as saying.

He could not be reached for immediate comment.

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April Freeman’s political campaign had focused on promoting equal pay for women and protecting the environment.

She also wrote a children’s book and was working on a self-help book as well as a political guide for women, according to her campaign website.

She won a nominating contest earlier this year to secure a place on the ballot in November. Freeman previously ran unsuccessfully for the seat.

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Reporting by Ginger Gibson in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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