Chris Smith (Florida politician)

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Chris Smith
Christopher Smith.jpeg
Minority Leader of the Florida Senate
In office
November 20, 2012 – November 18, 2014
Preceded byNan Rich
Succeeded byArthenia Joyner
Member of the Florida Senate
In office
November 4, 2008 – November 8, 2016
Preceded byM. Mandy Dawson
Succeeded byRedistricted
Constituency29th district (2008-2014)
32st district (2014–2016)
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 93rd district
In office
November 3, 1998 – November 7, 2006
Preceded byM. Mandy Dawson
Succeeded byPerry Thurston
Personal details
Born (1970-03-15) March 15, 1970 (age 50)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Desorae Giles-Smith
ChildrenChristopher Leveorn Smith, Christian Nicholas Giles Smith
Alma materJohnson C. Smith University (BS)
Florida State University (JD)

Christopher L. 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.


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. Many critics argue Smith's employment with Johnson, Anselmo, Murdoch, Burke & George, P.A. has led to conflicts in interest during his career in the State Senate: previously serving as a lobbyist for Florida Power & Light (FP&L), Smith protested the confirmation of two former Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) commissioners while serving as State Senator. Though he claimed his reservation for their confirmation was in an effort to increase diversity, it is arguably suspicious that these two commissioners had just denied FP&L's bid for their largest rate increase in history.[1] 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.[2] 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."[3] 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.

2016 Broward County Commission, District 9 Election[edit]

Chris Smith fell short of beating incumbent Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness in the race for the District 9 seat.[4]

2016 District 9 Broward County Commission Election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Dale Holness 10, 264 50.9
Democratic Chris L. Smith 9,879 49.0


  1. ^ "Was FPL Part of a 'Secret Campaign' that Targeted Regulators?". Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  2. ^ "What's in a name? Smith or Smithmyer in Democrat dominated seat". Miami Herald. June 8, 2012.
  3. ^ "State Senate Districts 29, 31 and 33: Re-elect Ring, Smith Sobel". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. October 18, 2012.
  4. ^ Sun-Sentinel, South Florida. "Holness, Rich, Geller take Broward commission contests". Retrieved 2016-09-04.

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