Florida State House of Representatives District 89, which hugs the coastline from Riviera Beach down to Boca Raton, is up for grabs by either incumbent Mike Caruso or Jim Bonfiglio. Both are well-funded as Caruso has flooded the district voter’s mailboxes with oversized postcards almost daily and his signs are seemingly everywhere, and Bonfiglio signs are now being seen around the district. The two fought in 2018 for the district and Caruso won by a razor-thin number of 32 votes.
There are approximately 1,700 more Republican voters than Democratic voters in District 89, which is much narrower than two years ago when these two candidates faced off in 2018. In 2018, there was a 3,200 difference in the voter registration between Democrat and Republican, which is why both are focussing hard on garnering the NPA (no party affiliation), Libertarian Party, and Green Party vote.
The district represents over 155,000 residents and has long been considered a Republican district; however, with the 2018 thin margin of Caruso’s win and today’s political climate, it is anyone’s guess who will sit in District 89’s chair in the Florida House on January 14, 2021 for the House’s first day of 60.
Bonfiglio and Caruso sound similar when it comes to healthcare. Caruso’s website states, “Mike worked to increase access to affordable healthcare and protect pre-existing conditions. Mike has supported expanding scope of practice for highly qualified nurses that perform simple procedures at a more affordable rate with less wait time. He has also supported and pushed over the finish line broader use of tele-health which has proved instrumental during the time of COVID-19.” On Bonfiglio’s campaign website, he states, “Jim boasts an incredibly progressive record regarding healthcare, with his ultimate goal being a Medicare-for-all system. He fully supports Medicaid expansion, since, if Florida were to reject the measure, the state would lose almost 66.1 billion dollars in revenue that is earmarked for expansion. He opposes moving Medicaid recipients into for-profit managed care programs, as privatized care prioritizes “profits and not patients.” He is a strong proponent of safe staffing standards for hospitals and nursing homes and increased funding for long-term care.”
The two also sound similar when it comes to education, except for school choice. While Caruso is for school choice, Bonfiglio is saying he will work to limit the spread of charter schools.
On the issue of the environment, they seem to agree overall. Bonfiglio states that he is “an environmental champion who strongly favors renewable energy and clean air for all Floridians.” He hopes to sponsor legislation that encourages clean energy by subsidizing businesses and homeowners who install solar panels. Meanwhile, Caruso states, “Protecting our environment and Florida’s precious natural resources should never be a partisan issue.” Caruso voted for programs that would protect Florida’s drinking water, water supply and environmentally sensitive lands. Caruso also co-sponsored and helped pass “The Clean Waterways Act.” Caruso also states he wants “to continue the fight to restore the Everglades, stop freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee onto Florida’s East and West coasts and make certain our springs and rivers are protected forever.”