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Gen Z candidate will win Democratic nomination in Florida’s 10th District, CNN projects

Maxwell Frost, National Organizing Director for March For Our Lives, speaks during a March For Our Lives Florida drive-in rally and aid event at Tinker Field in Orlando on Friday, March 26, 2021. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

(CNN) — Maxwell Frost, a 25-year-old community organizer, will win the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, CNN projects, and could become the first member of Generation Z elected to Congress.

He bested a crowded field of candidates looking to replace Democratic Rep. Val Demings in an Orlando-based district, including state Sen. Randolph Bracy, former US Rep. Corrine Brown — who recently settled a federal corruption case after winning a new trial and serving more than two years in prison — and former US Rep. Alan Grayson.

Demings is vacating the seat for a Senate run, and she clinched the Democratic nomination Tuesday to face GOP Sen. Marco Rubio in November. Frost’s victory Tuesday makes him the favorite in November for the deep-blue seat that Joe Biden would have carried by 32 points in 2020.

Ahead of the primary, Frost — a gun violence prevention activist who this summer disrupted conservative talk show host Dave Rubin’s public interview with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis with calls to end gun violence — generated considerable buzz.

Frost was endorsed by notable progressives such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, and he had raised $1.5 million through August 3, more than any other candidate in the field, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

For the first time, in 2022, members of Generation Z — those born after 1996 — are eligible to be elected to the US House of Representatives. (Under the Constitution, House members have to be at least 25 years old, a US citizen for at least seven years and live in the state they represent, though not necessarily the district.)

Frost is not the only Gen Z candidate running for Congress this cycle.

In New Hampshire, former Trump aide Karoline Leavitt and state Rep. Tim Baxter, who are seeking the GOP nomination in the state’s 1st District, are both Gen Zers. Earlier this summer, two Gen Z candidates lost their primaries: Democrat Ray Reed in Missouri’s 2nd District and Republican Matt Foldi in Maryland’s 6th.

For her part, Leavitt — who will also turn 25 ahead of the midterms — told CNN last year that she was running for Congress to bring young voters into the Republican Party.

“We have people in Washington, DC, that have been clinging to power twice as long as I have been alive,” she said. “My youth is a strength and that is showing on the campaign trail already.”

Leavitt worked as an assistant press secretary in the Trump White House under press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and following the 2020 election, she served as communications director for New York Rep. Elise Stefanik. She faces a crowded GOP field on September 13 in her bid to challenge Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas.

Frost on the campaign trail has leaned into his youth and has said that if elected to Congress, he would bring the fervor of Gen Z with him.

“Our generation has been through some of the modern challenges our country is going through, yet we don’t have representation in Congress, and we deserve to be at the table,” he told CNN on Tuesday before the election, adding that the possibility of being the first Gen Z member of Congress would be “the honor of a lifetime.”

“It’s something I don’t take lightly,” Frost said about the historic nature of his candidacy. “I’m not here saying I represent the values and thoughts of every single member of Gen Z. We’re like any other generation … many different ideologies and everything like that. But I think I do holistically represent our lived experience as young people.”

In addition to fighting for gun safety, Frost has advocated abortion rights and voting rights with the ACLU of Florida.

Since launching his campaign, he has focused his energy on what he calls the need for “bold change.” His platform includes proposals such as “Medicare for All” and a plan for “ending gun violence,” as well as the “climate crisis,” which includes support for the progressive Green New Deal resolution.

Frost on Tuesday described growing up as part of the “mass shooting generation” and said, “We’re a generation that goes through more school shooting drills than fire drills.”

“We’ve seen these things and been wondering our whole lives as young people, in high school, middle school and elementary school, why? Why is this happening? Why have we not fixed this? And now we’re at a place where we can vote and we can run, and we’re going to do it,” he said.

Frost, who spent the summer of 2020 protesting for racial justice following the death of George Floyd, told CNN last year that he was “running for what our generation really wants and is asking for.”

“We often talk about what we need to survive. I want to have a conversation about what we need to thrive,” he said at the time.

This story has been updated.

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