25-year-old Floridian wins primary, could become first Gen Z congressman

Author: Li Cohen / CBS
Maxwell Frost, who won a 2022 Democratic primary race for a Florida House seat. Credit: CBS

A 25-year-old Florida man with Cuban roots running on a platform of more gun laws, better health care and an improved focus on environmental justice might be headed to Congress. CBS News projects that Maxwell Frost, who ran for a House seat in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, dominated a crowded Democratic primary with more than 34% of the votes.

He’s set to run against Republican Calvin Wimbish in the November election, in a district that is considered a Democratic stronghold. If he heads to Washington in January to take the seat vacated by Val Demings, he would be the first member of Gen Z to become a member of Congress. According to Politico, he would also be the only Afro-Cubano in Congress.

Politico, which also reports he’s never held office before and has yet to finish college, spoke to Frost ahead of Tuesday’s election about why he got into politics and what he hopes to accomplish.

“I quit my job to do this. I drive Uber to pay my bills. It’s a sacrifice, to be honest,” Frost told the publication. “But I’m doing it because I can’t imagine myself not doing anything but fixing the problems we have right now.”

Frost, whose grandmother came to Florida from Cuba “with only a suitcase and no money” during the 1960s Freedom Flights, according to his website, ran on a progressive platform focused on expanding Medicare, ending gun violence, improving housing affordability, sustainable and affordable transit, environmental justice and the climate crisis. He also promised to focus on the nation’s pandemic preparedness by pushing for better and more affordable vaccines, tests and prevention strategies.

“We won because of our message: Love. That no matter who you are, you deserve healthcare, a livable wage, and to live free from gun violence,” Frost tweeted on Tuesday night. “We made history tonight. Thank you so much, Orlando.”

Frost won with the support of significant progressives figures including Sen. Bernie Sanders, whom he used to work for, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, CBS News’ Caitlin Huey-Burns said Tuesday.

“We’ve been talking a lot about these moderates winning against progressives. This is kind of a flip of that dynamic, and also going to make history, likely,” she said.

His win was celebrated by fellow progressives of his generation, with many heralding it as a collective victory.

“Florida just did with [sic] almost everybody in the establishment thought impssible,” gun law activist and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg tweeted. “Elect Maxwell Frost a 25-year-old progressive activist to congress. Never underestimate the power of pissed off young people.”

A video of Frost’s election watch party shows him surrounded by and celebrating with dozens of other young adults.

Frost isn’t the only one of his generation aiming for Capitol Hill. According to the nonpartisan and nonprofit political finance tracking group Open Secrets, there are at least two other Gen Z’ers running in 2022: New Hampshire state representative Tim Baxter and Karoline Leavitt are fighting to win the Republican primary for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. Raymond Reed also ran for Congress in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District earlier this month, but did not make it through the primary.

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