Democrat Running for Congress Dies Unexpectedly

LITHIA (970 WFLA) -- A congressional race involving parts of Polk and Sarasota counties is thrown into turmoil after one of the candidates passes away unexpectedly. 

Her husband says Democrat April Freeman died Sunday night of a heart attack at age 54. 

Freeman was running for the District 17 seat vacated by outgoing congressman Tom Rooney, and would have faced Republican Greg Steube, currently a state senator. She had previously run against Rooney for the seat in 2016. 

Steube says on his Facebook page that his upcoming campaign events this week will be cancelled. 

Democrats in the district have five days to pick a new candidate under Florida law.

The district includes far southeast Hillsborough county, eastern Manatee County, Sarasota County south of Clark Road, Fort Meade and southern Polk County, DeSoto, Charlotte, northern Lee, Highlands and Okeechobee Counties.

Democrats have five days to select a new candidate. 

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