Democratic Florida congressional candidate Scott Fuhrman addressed students in “The Election” course at the Cosford Cinema on Tuesday to discuss his bid for Congress member in the upcoming election.
Fuhrman, who is running for Florida’s 27th district against incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, discussed the competitive nature of the election, including the use of fundraising and political advertisements. He also went into detail about his own political platform that involves his stance on reasonable gun restrictions, combating climate change and challenging the practice of gerrymandering, manipulating electoral district boundaries for political advantage.
Before Fuhrman began his discussion, one of the leaders of the course and moderator, Associate Professor Casey Klofstad, told students in attendance that the reason people vote is simply because of the “social and psychological benefits of the act.”
“Your vote doesn’t matter, but still, you should vote,” said Klofstad. “Somewhere in the back of your brains, the lizard part, you’re thinking to yourself: ‘How does voting benefit me personally?’ and of course, your answer is: ‘It doesn’t.’”
Senior Corey Jaquez, a student in the class, described some of the students as tense following the professor’s opinion. For Jaquez, a political science major, every vote counts.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the statistics say,” said Jaquez. “You are making a difference – whether or not you feel like it.”
In contrast, Adrian Nuñez, a junior in the class, saw reasoning behind his professor’s statements as this particular election is “contentious and drawing a lot of attention.”
“If you look at the numbers, it wasn’t an opinion-based statement that he was making, it was factual based off history,” Nuñez said. “One singular vote has not been the determinant of an election going one way or the other.”
Nuñez said that he would still vote despite what his professor said.
“It wouldn’t discourage me from voting,” Nuñez said. “To some people it might, but from the angle that he was saying it, it wouldn’t personally affect me from voting.”
During his discussion, Fuhrman explained the difficulty of running against an established incumbent like Ros-Lehtinen, who has been active in politics since the 1980s.
“I make over 150 calls a day, and have contributed a great deal to my own campaign, and am still at a 5-1 disadvantage to my opponent financially; due largely to the fact that I choose not to beholden myself to special interests,” Fuhrman said.
Fuhrman, born in Coconut Grove, became part of the fourth generation in his family living in Miami that has strong ties to the community. His grandfather started Florida Bottling Company, a fruit products company that he now runs. As a University of Miami graduate, Fuhrman is among the multiple alumni making an impact in politics, including Marco Rubio and Reince Priebus.
The Miami-native got his start in politics while interning during the Bush-Gore election of 2000. During the event, Fuhrman expressed the importance of student involvement in elections to the students in attendance.
“I’m running as a Democrat, so student voter turnout and election margins are essentially inseparable for my candidacy,” said Fuhrman.
The event marked the fourth lecture for “The Election,” a by-announcement-only course offered by the university exclusively during election years. Republican incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Carlos Curbelo and journalists Dan Sweeney, Marc Caputo and Patricia Mazzei have also spoken in the class this semester.