Chris Smith (Florida politician)

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Chris Smith
Christopher Smith.jpeg
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 31st district
Incumbent
Assumed office
2012
Preceded by Eleanor Sobel
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 29th district
In office
2008–2012
Preceded by M. Mandy Dawson
Succeeded by Jeremy Ring
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 93rd district
In office
1998–2006
Preceded by M. Mandy Dawson
Succeeded by Perry E. Thurston, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1970-03-15) March 15, 1970 (age 44)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Desorae Giles-Smith
Children Christopher Leveorn Smith, Christian Nicholas Giles Smith
Alma mater Johnson C. Smith University (B.S.) Florida State University (J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Religion Baptist

Christopher L. "Chris" Smith (born March 15, 1970, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) is a Democratic member of the Florida Senate, representing the 31st District, which includes eastern Broward County since 2012.

History[edit]

Smith attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he received a degree in political science. He participated in Model United Nations while in college, even traveling to Moscow, Russia to participate in the International Model United Nations in 1990. Following his undergraduate work, he attended Florida State University, where he graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1995. He started working for the law firm Johnson, Anselmo, Murdoch, Burke & George, P.A., where he currently works. In 1995, he was appointed to the Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning Board.

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

Following the decision by Democratic State Representative M. Mandy Dawson to run for the Florida State Senate rather than seek re-election, Smith ran to succeed her. Smith faced Perry E. Thurston, Jr., Hazel K. Armbrister, and Fred Segal in the Democratic primary, which was opened to the entire electorate because all of the candidates were Democrats. Though Smith came in first place with 47% of the vote, the fact that he did not attain a majority mandated a run-off election between Smith and Thurston, the second place finisher, which he won in a landslide, receiving 58% of the vote. He was unopposed in the general election, and was re-elected without opposition in 2002. In 2004, Smith faced Sallie Tillman-Watson in the Democratic primary, but he turned away her challenge easily. He was re-elected to his final term in the general election without opposition. From 2004 to 2006, he served as the Minority Leader of the Florida House of Representatives.

Florida Senate[edit]

In 2008, when State Senator M. Mandy Dawson was unable to seek another term due to term limits, Smith ran to succeed her in the 29th District, which includes parts of Broward County and Palm Beach County. In the Democratic primary, Smith defeated Earlen C. Smiley, the Deputy Superintendent of the Broward County School Board; Michael E. Carn; and Terry A. Williams Edden in a landslide. In the general election, he was elected without opposition. When Florida Senate districts were reconfigured, Smith was drawn into the 31st District and ran for re-election there. He faced Republican Chris Smithmyer, who was recruited by the Republican Party of Florida to run in Smith's district due to his similar-sounding name.[1] Smith was endorsed for re-election by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which praised him for becoming "the lead advocate for issues dear to Senate Democrats, from closing corporate tax loopholes to providing more state funding to make higher education more accessible and affordable."[2] In the end, Smith was overwhelmingly re-elected over Smithmyer, receiving 84% of the vote. For the 2012-2014 legislative term, Smith served as the Senate Democratic Leader, and, by virtue of the fact that his party was in the minority, the Minority Leader of the Senate.

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