Kale Feels Drawn to Challenge Steube

Todays News

Image courtesy Facebook

Could a former IT director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign hack into voter frustration and pull an upset in a local congressional race? Andrea Doria Kale, a North Port Democrat, filed this year to challenge U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican seeking his third term in Congress.

The long-time New Yorker spent 37 years working for a health care-focused nonprofit and bought a home in North Port in 2015. She initially thought it would be a vacation home but moved here full time in 2016 when National Institutes of Health funding was cut for her employer and she was laid off; the organization ultimately went under. 

Since that time, Kale became increasingly politically interested and involved.

“I haven’t turned off cable news since 2015,” she said. “It’s on in my house and in my car. I live and breathe it.”

She volunteered for Clinton’s presidential campaign and became the state-level IT director and deputy operations director for the campaign’s Florida headquarters in Tampa. But that didn’t go as expected. Donald Trump won, and Republicans running on similar agendas, including Steube, won seats in Congress soon enough. She did volunteer briefly for Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020, and now hopes in Congress to support an agenda close to the Democratic president’s.

She’s no fan of Steube, and took issue when he fought gun legislation in Congress aimed at limiting access to firearms. At at one point, Steube attended a remote congressional committee meeting and showed his own collections of guns and which would be illegal to purchase under a Democratic bill. When someone questioned if the guns were loaded, Steube replied, “I'm at my house. I can do whatever I want with my guns."

With the legislation proposed in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas where 19 children died, Kale found the exchange offensive. “I tweeted at him, ‘What’s wrong with you? Have you any shame?” Kale said.

But it’s unclear if a run for Congress will attract more attention than a Twitter notification.  Under a new congressional map in place this year, U.S. House District 17 includes all of Sarasota and Charlotte counties and part of Lee County. Around 57.49% of voters in the 2020 presidential election supported Trump, compared to 44.95% who backed Biden.

Kale hopes she can attract independent voters and disaffected Republicans into the fold with her personal story and demeanor. She also hopes for some voter outrage over federal actions, including the Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade, will generate enthusiasm.

As an 18-year-old, Kale shortly after her father’s death had a child she put up for adoption and did not see again until the girl was 22. The two now have a good relationship as adults. She tells the story even as she supports a woman’s right to choose. And while she wants further gun control, she has owned a firearm since 2020. “I’m a woman alone and I’m in a state where people carry guns,” she said. “I have to learn how to protect myself and my home. So that’s where I am at. I am for responsible gun ownership.”

No-party-affiliate Theodore “Pink Tie” Murray also appears on the general election ballot. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Image courtesy Facebook

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