Trailblazing transgender state Senate candidate dies just weeks before election

A transgender state Senate candidate running in Northeast Florida died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, just weeks before the end of her historic run for office.

Melina Rayna Svanhild Farley-Barratt of Trenton was the Democratic nominee in Senate District 5, a largely rural and deep-red sinecure in Northeast Florida.

In a district where 51% of registered voters are Republicans, few Democrats would take on the political machine of Senate Appropriations Chair Rob Bradley and his likely successor, wife Jennifer Bradley. But Barratt was no ordinary candidate.

Barratt was a familiar presence in the halls of the Florida Capitol during the 2020 Legislative Session, often willing to make arguments that flew in the face of the inevitable Republican consensus positions on one issue or another. She was undaunted by committee chairs struggling to pronounce her name.

The Legislative Director with Florida NOW and (as she told Florida Politics last year), she was the first transgender woman to run for the state Senate. She was not intimidated by the Republican composition of the district and the challenge posed by the opposition.

She said she had been thinking about “running for something” for three years. A run for state

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