|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Florida's 24th district
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Tom Feeney|
|Succeeded by||Sandy Adams|
|Member of the Florida House of Representatives|
from the 28th district
November 5, 1996 – November 2, 2004
|Preceded by||Jack Ascherl|
|Succeeded by||Dorothy Hukill|
February 25, 1944
Washington, DC, U.S.
|Spouse||Robert Paul Kosmas|
|Residence||New Smyrna Beach, Florida|
|Alma mater||Pennsylvania State University|
George Mason University
Stetson University (BA)
|Profession||real estate broker|
Suzanne Kosmas (née McDonald; born February 25, 1944) is the former U.S. Representative for Florida's 24th congressional district, serving one term from 2009 until 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She previously served in the Florida House of Representatives.
Early life, education, and career
Kosmas has lived in New Smyrna Beach since 1973. She has owned Prestige Properties of New Smyrna Beach, a real estate company, since 1979. Kosmas attended The Pennsylvania State University and George Mason University, later graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stetson University in 1998. She is married to Robert Paul Kosmas.
Florida House of Representatives
In 1996, when incumbent State Representative Jack Ascherl opted against seeking re-election, Kosmas ran to succeed him in the 28th District, which included eastern Volusia County. She was initially scheduled to face Ted Doran, a Port Orange attorney in the Democratic primary, but at the last minute, Governor Lawton Chiles persuaded Doran to run in the 27th District instead. Accordingly, she won the primary unopposed and, while a contentious Republican primary developed between businessman Fred Cooper and former Daytona Beach Mayor Paul Carpenella, Kosmas was able to raise campaign contributions for the general election. In the general election, Kosmas ended up facing Cooper, and a close election ensued. Republicans, hoping to win a majority in the Florida House of Representatives for the first time since Reconstruction, targeted the 28th District.
Kosmas focused her campaign on economic development, education, juvenile crime, and healthcare. On education, Kosmas emphasized her support for reducing class sizes, accountability for local school districts, and on creating alternative learning environments for disruptive children.to develop home-grown solutions could help address the issue. She noted her concern that, while violent crime was decreasing, juvenile crime was increasing, and argued that reducing truancy, using the educational system to identify at-risk children, and working with community leaders to develop home-grown solutions could help address the issue.
Chiles repeatedly visited the district to campaign for Kosmas, arguing that Ascherl left large shoes to fill and that she had the leadership credentials to replace him. Kosmas was also endorsed by the Orlando Sentinel, which argued that she had "a much sharper understanding of issues" than Cooper and that her "extensive hands-on community-service experience" was better-suited than his, and by the Daytona Beach News-Journal, which concluded that she was "extraordinarily well-versed on key issues" and was "much more in touch than Cooper with the needs of the community." The News-Journal also criticized the attack ads that Cooper ran against Kosmas—which called her "Volusia County's Biggest Fraud" and accused her of being a "tax cheat" and a "business fraud"—as "the nastiest and most deceptive ads" in that year's elections. Ultimately, Kosmas ended up narrowly defeating Cooper, winning her first term in the legislature 52–48%, by a little more than 2,000 votes.
When Kosmas ran for re-election in 1998, she was opposed by Republican nominee Jerry Gardner, a staffer who had worked at the local state attorney's office and for the State Senate's criminal justice committee. Kosmas emphasized her experience in the legislature, legislative accomplishments, and moderate views, while Gardner argued that she was ideologically out-of-step with the more conservative district. Once again, the News-Journal and the Sentinel endorsed Kosmas, with the Sentinel praising her for her knowledge and "deep concern for her community," while the News-Journal praised "her record and her promise for greater service to come." Kosmas improved on her margin of victory, defeating Gardner 53–47%, winning by around 2,000 votes.
In 2000, Kosmas ran for re-election against former Volusia County School Board Member Deborah Denys, who focused her campaign on her support for charter schools and school vouchers. Kosmas argued that she was an independent legislator and that Denys would vote as "a rubber stamp for the leadership that's already there. She focused on her support for public schools and campaigned against Denys's proposal to provide public funds for private school vouchers, and noted her opposition to abortion regulations. Ultimately, despite the perceived closeness of the race, along with the closeness of the presidential race in Florida, Kosmas vastly improved on her margin of victory over Denys, winning her third term 57–43%.
Due to term limits, Kosmas ran for her fourth and final term in 2002, and she faced Denys once again. Even though her district became more Republican-leaning after redistricting, Kosmas staked out a big fundraising lead over Denys and drew on her popularity in the district. Denys attacked Kosmas for opposing the right to fly the American flag, opposing classrooms displaying the Constitution, and supporting providing drivers licenses to foreign nationals. She argued that the attacks were inaccurate and misstated her record. Ultimately, despite the changes to the district and Governor Jeb Bush's landslide re-election, Kosmas won re-election by a wide margin, receiving 55% of the vote to Denys's 42% and Libertarian nominee Mary Morelly's 3%. When Kosmas was term-limited in 2004, she was succeeded by Republican Dorothy Hukill.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 2009, Kosmas joined with the Democratic majority to vote for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. She originally voted along with 38 other Democrats against the Affordable Health Care for America Act. However, she switched to a "Yes" vote for the Senate version of the bill.
- Committee on Financial Services
- Committee on Science and Technology
Kosmas was one of the top recruits for the Democrats in the 2008 cycle. Despite the wide perception that Feeney had drawn the 24th for himself while still serving as state house speaker (the district included most of his state house district), the district is actually a fairly marginal district on paper, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+4. It includes most of Democratic-leaning Volusia County, where Kosmas lives.
In 2008, Kosmas campaigned on issues such as fiscal conservatism, support for veterans, and values like integrity and transparency. Independent expenditure ads attacked Feeney for his ties to Jack Abramoff, and Feeney's own ad released six weeks prior to the election exacerbated the negative public perception.
In the November election, Kosmas won, taking 57% of the vote to Feeney's 41% — the largest margin of defeat for a Republican incumbent in the 2008 cycle.
Kosmas defeated former Winter Springs Mayor Paul Partyka in the Democratic primary.
Kosmas was defeated for re-election by former State Representative Sandy Adams on Nov. 2, 2010 by a 60% to 40% margin. Ironically, two years after handing Feeney the largest margin of defeat for a Republican incumbent in the 2008 cycle, Kosmas herself lost by the second-largest margin of any Democratic incumbent in the 2010 cycle, after Chet Edwards of Texas.
- "Our Campaigns - FL State House 28 Race - Nov 05, 1996".
- "Our Campaigns - FL State House 028 Race - Nov 05, 2002".
- O'Dea, Suzanne (2013). textsFrom Suffrage to the Senate: America's Political Women.
- "Kosmas, Suzanne M., (1944 - )". Washington, D.C.: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- "Nepveux-Kosmas". The Greenville News. April 21, 1996.
- Fontenay, Blake (July 20, 1996). "Chiles shifts lineup for District 27 race: The Governor persuaded District 28 candidate Ted Doran to challenge Jimmy Charles". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. C1.
- Fluker, Krys (September 1, 1996). "State house candidates build campaign war chests". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. p. 4C.
- Kennedy, John (November 6, 1996). "Battle for legislature goes down to wire: Republicans appeared to retain a majority in the Senate and were hoping to control the House as well". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. A11.
- Fluker, Krys (September 15, 1996). "House power struggle comes home". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. p. 1C.
- "What Florida House candidates say about the issues". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. October 27, 1996. p. 10A.
- "What Florida House candidates say about education". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. October 28, 1996. p. 3D.
- "State House candidates make case for handling crime". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. October 27, 1996. p. 10A.
- "Chiles to visit Volusia Democrats, stop at Rose Bay". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. September 19, 1996. p. 5C.
- Fontenay, Blake (October 29, 1996). "Governor: Volusia is ripe for Democrats". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. D1.
- "Kosmas is better choice". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. October 29, 1996. p. A20.
- "Recommendations for State House District 28". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. November 3, 1996. p. 1B.
- "Campaigns get ugly at end". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. November 5, 1996. p. 4A.
- "November 5, 1996 General Election, State Representative District: 28". Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
- Laff, Michael (May 20, 1998). "Wiles faces challenger for State House seat". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. p. 5D.
- Creesy, Linda (October 22, 1998). "Candidates agree education is concern". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. D1.
- "Kosmas knows District 28". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. October 15, 1998. p. A18.
- "Recommendations for Florida House seats". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. October 25, 1998. p. 1B.
- "November 3, 1998 GEneral Election, State Representative District: 28". Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
- Givens, Ann (October 28, 2000). "House hopefuls Denys, Kosmas agree to differ on same issues". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
- Johnson, Mark I. (October 13, 2000). "House hopefuls run low-key campaign". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. p. 4C.
- "November 7, 2000 General Election, State Representative District: 28". Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
- Pedicini, Sandra (September 18, 2002). "District 28 rivals will scrap again". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. H1.
- Pedicini, Sandra (October 25, 2002). "Denys' attack fails to match Kosmas' record". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
- "November 5, 2002 General Election, State Representative District: 28". Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
- http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll046.xml Final Vote Results For Roll Call 046
- http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll037.xml Final Vote Results For Roll Call 037
- http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll477.xml Final Vote Results For Roll Call 477
- http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll223.xml Final Vote Results For Roll Call 223
- http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll887.xml Final Vote Results For Roll Call 887
- "Suzanne Kosmas To Vote 'Yes' On Health Care - News Story - WFTV Orlando". Wftv.com. 2010-03-19. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
- Olka. "Updating The Health Care Whip Count - Hotline On Call". Hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
- "Washington changed them | Suzanne Kosmas for Congress". Archived from the original on 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- "mea culpa" television ad
- "Election Center 2008 - Election Results & Politics News from". CNN.com. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
- Suzanne Kosmas for Congress official campaign site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Archived profile, sponsored bills and photo album from the Florida House of Representatives
- Appearances on C-SPAN