If President Donald Trump taps freshman U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, Mast’s already contested Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional seat would become a top pickup opportunity for Democrats.
If decorated combat veteran Mast leaves office, two Republicans would be left to contend for the 2018 nomination to represent the District 18 seat: physician Mark Freeman and businessman Dave Cummings. The deadline for congressional candidates to qualify for the 2018 ballot passed last week.
Two Democrats are running for Mast’s District 18 seat: Lauren Baer, a former Obama administration foreign policy adviser, and Pam Keith, a Navy veteran and attorney.
The Washington Democratic establishment has anointed Baer as its choice to topple Mast. She raised more than $1 million through March with fundraising help from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and has campaigned with House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. Keith, who got a surprisingly strong 15.4 percent in a 2016 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, is touting her grassroots support in the District 18 Democratic primary.
Republican Freeman spent $1.6 million of his own money to finish third in a six-candidate GOP primary for the District 18 seat in 2016. He opened a 2018 campaign last month with an introductory video urging Americans to dedicate “ourselves anew to the ascendant glory of American preordination, by which the world will ever be atoned.”