Joseph Bensmihen announces a GOP challenge to Sen. Maria Sachs in SD 34

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Joseph Bensmihen, president and CEO of Boca Home Care Services, today became the latest Republican to announce a challenge to state Sen. Maria Sachs in the Democrat-leaning Florida Senate District 34.

Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News reports that days before, former Florida Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff announced she is ready for a second go against Sachs, who defeated her in 2012 in the only contest between two incumbent Senators, because of redistricting.

Bensmihen, in his announcement on Thursday, focused on his experience with spastic cerebral palsy as well as his charity work.

“I think I’ve proven that society sometimes has the handicap and an individual only has a disability,” Bensmihen said.

“Disabilities come in many forms,” he added. “But a way forward and a way up is only achieved through hard work, perseverance, and commitment. That is what I bring to this race and what our kids and grandkids need to know.

“I am excited to take this next step of service and offer myself to the voters of District 34,” Joseph Bensmihen said. “I know, firsthand, what it takes to create – and maintain – jobs for my neighbors because I’ve done it. I know, firsthand, what true charity is because I’ve worked to give it. I also know, firsthand, what it is like to be told you can’t do something, but to know you can.”

“I know there are those who say Florida, and America, have put our best days behind us,” Bensmihen continued. “To those who believe that or those who fear it to be true, I intend to campaign as an example of what one can accomplish if we stop labeling each other and start working together. There is no goal we cannot achieve in this country and no mountain too high in our state.

“I intend to win this race and unite our district in the common cause of freedom, economic prosperity, and world class education for our future.”

Derby writes that conservative Republican Karin Hoffman is also in the race for the Republican primary. Bogdanoff, if she wins, is largely expected to be the tiebreaker for Sen. Jack Latvala in his bid for the Senate presidency.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.