Maxwell Frost sounds a lot like other Gen Zers — he’s 25, works as an Uber driver for extra money, and recently quit his job to pursue a more promising opportunity.
His most recent gig? On Tuesday night, he won a crowded primary in Florida’s heavily Democratic 10th Congressional District, giving him a strong chance of becoming a member of the United States House of Representatives.
Frost won the nomination over more experienced Democrats, including former members of Congress Corrine Brown and Alan Grayson, as well as state Sen. Randolph Bracy. In the restructured Orlando-area district, he will be the favorite in November.
“I knew going into this thing that we’d be counted out because of my age,” Frost said in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday. “And I’ve been counted out a lot of my life because of my age. But I knew that if we stuck to our message, and if we kept doing the work, and we built the movement, we would win.”
He is one of a new breed of Democratic candidates with working-class roots this year. On his campaign website, he emphasizes the difficulties faced by his biological mother, who gave him up for adoption in the midst of what he calls a “cycle of drugs, crime, and violence.”
Frost campaigned on behalf of Medicare-for-all, demilitarizing police, legalizing prostitution and recreational marijuana, expunging all marijuana convictions, and restoring voting rights to those who have been imprisoned.
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed him (I-Vt.).
Frost led the 10-candidate race in polls leading up to the primary, but he said his campaign team was working as hard on Election Day as they had all summer, hitting the streets at 4 a.m. to drop off campaign literature at voters’ homes.
A seat in Congress requires a minimum age of 25. Frost has never run for public office, but he is not a political newcomer. He began his political career at the age of 15, protesting gun violence following the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
He went on to become the national organizing director for the March for Our Lives movement, which was founded by students who survived the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. He also worked for the ACLU in Florida, advocating for voting rights for ex-offenders.
Frost describes his generation as the “mass shootings generation.”
He made national headlines four months ago when he confronted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) at an event in Orlando, shortly after the Uvalde, Texas, school shootings. Frost is seen telling DeSantis in a video that has gone viral on social media that he needs to do something about gun violence. “Nobody wants to hear from you,” DeSantis responded, and Frost was seen being escorted out.
Frost believes that voters who are angry with DeSantis will help propel him to Congress.
“Our positive message about the world we deserve to live in is what really resonates with people, despite what comes out of Tallahassee,” Frost said.
He claimed that DeSantis’ policies had energized voters.
“Our message has resonated at this time, despite what the governor is doing to scapegoat queer people, despite the governor taking away Black people’s voting rights, despite our LGBTQ+ community, Latinos, Black people, and disabled people being scapegoated by this governor for every issue under the sun,” he said.
Frost was the top fundraiser in the race for the open seat currently held by Rep. Val Demings (D), who won the nomination for Senate on Tuesday night and will challenge Sen. Marco Rubio (R).