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Who are Florida’s 3rd Congressional District Democratic candidates?

  • Updated
  • 6 min to read
Alachua County Democratic congressional candidates

(From left to right): Phil Dodds, Adam Christensen, Tom Wells. 

Philip Dodds

phil dodds.jpg

Age: 46

Who is Dodds?

  • Former Independent candidate for Congress in 2012 general election
  • Grew up in South Florida and has lived in Alachua County since 1996
  • Builds software systems for doctors
  • Bachelor’s in mathematics and physics from UF

Campaign Finances as of July 29

Monetary contributions: $59,124.81

Total expenditures: $21,163.36

Why is Dodds running for office?

“I'm running for office because I think we need good candidates to run,” Dodds said. “And I'm interested in being a part of the blue wave for Florida.”

Dodds said he is running because he wants to support all aspects of the Democratic platform in Congress. He also said he wants to run to help Joe Biden, the Democrat presidential candidate, get more votes and win in Florida. That would make it harder for President Donald Trump to win reelection, he added.

“I'm interested in equal rights and equal application of the law in government. I'm interested in building an economy that works for all people, not just the wealthy people. I'm interested in building an ethical government that respects the rule of law and respects democracy,” Dodds said.

What are the main issues Dodds cares about?

Health care

“I'm running in order to continue the push for better, less expensive health care,” Dodds said. “I think we can do a lot to lower the price of health care and expand coverage to more people.”

Dodds said that he disagrees with cutting Medicare and Social Security. He said that if people do not feel insecurity in their health care and finances, they can feel free. The economy will also grow, he added.

The candidate also said that people are trapped in their jobs for the fear of losing their private insurance. Such a situation does not allow people the flexibility to change jobs and reach their maximum potential, he added.

“Really good insurance makes sure that we're covered even when we lose our jobs,” Dodds said.

The environment

“We need to, first of all, reestablish the environmental protection agency that has been gutted by the Trump administration,” Dodds said.

Dodds said it is necessary to push for renewable energy sources, not drill off Florida’s coasts and ban hydraulic fracking, which is a drilling technique used to extract oil or natural gas from deep underground. He added that national preserves should be protected, and the federal government must invest in vehicles and buildings in environmentally friendly ways.

Equal justice under the law

“I’m interested in supporting democracy, the right to vote, securing our elections, making sure that there is a ‘checks and balances’ between the three branches of government,” Dodds said.

Dodds said he wants to pass the H.R.1 and H.R.4 bills in the Senate, the “For the People Act” and “Voting Rights Advancement Act” respectively.

“For the People Act” is meant to protect and expand voting rights, promote ethics rules and reduce the influence of private donor money in politics. The “Voting Rights Advancement Act” is designed to strengthen the “Voting Rights Act of 1965,” which was signed into law to protect against racial voting discrimination.

“Those two bills together would be very powerful, to protect our right to vote and to secure our elections,” Dodds said.

Campaign website:

Adam Christensen

Adam C.jpg

Age: 26

Who is Christensen?

  • Small business owner in Gainesville
  • Founder and CEO of Botanica Testing, Inc.
  • Born in Olathe, Kansas and raised in Palm Harbor, Florida
  • Bachelor’s degree in biology from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia

Campaign Finances as of June 30

Monetary contributions: $20,012.13

Total expenditures: $15,300.28

Why is Christensen running for office?

Christensen said he decided to run because he saw that there was not a Democratic candidate who would compete effectively against the Republicans in January.

“I didn't see anyone who is going to be able to actually talk about the things that matter. I didn't see anyone who is going to go in and actually dismantle the structures that have been wrong in our society for so long,” Christensen said.

Christensen said that actual structural issues in government are continuously covered superficially, like with “Band-Aids,” without fixing the underlying issues.

“They never actually cleaned. They never actually stitched it up,” he said.

What are the main issues Christensen cares about?

Getting rid of the wealth gap

“Right now the quickest ways to do that, the most effective ways to do that, is to be able to go to a ‘Medicare For All’ system where we remove insurance companies from the industry. ‘Why?’ Because they're predatory,” Christensen said.

Christensen said that insurance companies are middlemen who take a percentage of what people pay into health care, and that if they were removed, everything would be cheaper. He also said small businesses and startups would experience great growth and be able to compete if most health care costs were removed.

Making sure there are federal jobs for people after the pandemic

“The way we do that is with FDR’s (Franklin D Roosevelt) style politics, a Green New Deal, where we actually retrofit all of our infrastructure, especially here in North Central Florida,“ Christensen said.

Because of the high unemployment rate, Christensen suggested creating something similar to the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, which helped Tennessee and neighboring states during the Great Depression, in North Central Florida. He said it would ensure federal jobs with great wages to people who want to work.

Passing of universal child care

In the U.S., the average annual cost of infant care is around $9,100 to $9,600, according to the Child Care Aware of America’s 2019 report. Christensen said that if that cost were removed, that would be a significant amount of money back in the hands of middle class and poor families in the country.

Campaign website:

Tom Wells

Tom Wells.jpg

Age: 69

Who is Tom Wells?

  • Third time running for Congress
  • Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Maryland

Campaign Finances as of June 30

Monetary contributions: $13,044.36

Total expenditures: $11,823.96

Why is Wells running for office?

Wells said he is running because he believes society is killing its children’s future for not acknowledging the challenges of climate change.

People should understand where the problems come from in order to know how to fix them, Wells said.

Wells said he is running for the same position again because he has always studied problems within the federal government, which makes him feel he has prepared for the position in congress. He said he has learned a lot about Florida’s 3rd District and how to communicate the things that must be done in congress to benefit the district.

“If you don't have a strategy, it's just pretty unlikely to happen all by itself.” Wells said. “I can't sleep at night if I'm not doing this.”

What are the main issues Wells cares about?

Wells said he is committed to passing the three following acts if elected for office:

Straight Arrow Public Funding of Elections

“The donor-owned Congress, by denial of science, has for 40 years allowed the Climate Crisis to fester. And Congress is where we must resolve the problem,” Wells said. “This requires that Congress be reconnected to the people now. There is no grace period. No 'next' cycle.”

Wells suggests that every voter gets a $200 voucher account to be donated only to candidates bound to take nothing else in their campaign and time in office. However, there will still be corporate-funded candidates, he added.

Medicare for All (M4A)

“For 40 years, we have not passed Medicare For All and has been every year vastly more desirable than the year before because the legislators keep responding to the lobbyists from the health care sector (pharmaceuticals, health insurance companies and hospital associations),” Wells said.

Wells said the pandemic has highlighted the need for “Medicare for All” because a lot of people have lost their jobs and insurance together.

Wells’ plan in Congress includes “birth to death” health care with no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. It would cover vision, hearing, dental, mental health and prescription drugs. There would not be insurance premiums, deductibles or copays, Wells said.

Climate justice: The Green New Deal

Wells said that the meaning of the Green New Deal is building a sustainable economy that supports working people.

Wells said his act would include passing a multi-faceted plan that would build the economy out of depression into a sustainable future. It would include an end to fracking; an amendment to include a revenue neutral carbon tax that would financially incentivize people to reduce CO2 emissions; a transition into regenerative, sustainable and organic agriculture; and enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency regulations to restore clean air and water, he said.

“Fossil fuel companies are the evil part of the world, they are definitely not just a greedy corporate entity,” Wells said. “They are knowingly destroying their own grandchildren's lives, maybe their children's lives.”

Wells said that as long as people depend upon corporate money to fund their elections, they will not be able to negotiate eliminating the fossil fuel industry.

Campaign website:

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Philip Dodds ran for Congress in 2012. The Alligator originally reported differently.

Contact Aurora at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @AuroraCeciliaM.

Contributing Writer

Aurora is a journalism sophomore at UF and a university news assistant at The Alligator this Fall.