Bullard raised less money than other candidates. Yet she made it into the Democratic primary runoff, but lost to Daryl Jones.
Two years later, after earning a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University, Bullard again ran for the seat after Jones jumped to the Senate. She campaigned to improve public education.
Her priority abruptly changed a week before the primary, when Hurricane Andrew devastated South Miami-Dade. The storm blew away much of Bullard’s home, forcing the family to move in with friends in North Dade. The political campaign turned into an effort to help rebuild.
This time, Bullard won.
When she was term-limited out of the House in 2000, she managed the campaign for her husband, Edward, to succeed her.
In 2002, Bullard ran for the Senate. Again, she was outraised. Again, she won.
Her Senate biography said she was baptized Baptist but was a practicing Episcopalian. She liked pinochle, traveling and collecting butterfly-shaped jewelry and trinkets, though she lost much of her collection to Hurricane Andrew, Dwight Bullard said.
Condolences streamed in from politicians who summed up the life, and the loss, of Bullard.
“Larcenia had the biggest heart in the Senate,” said Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. “Every hard fight in committee or tough debate on the Senate floor always ended with her warmly embracing those with whom she disagreed and assuring them of her love.”
“She represented the families of South Florida with passion and integrity,” Republican Gov. Rick Scott said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those close to her and the rest of Florida as we honor a woman who put her constituents first.”
Though Bullard’s health had been poor, her loss was crushing to many of those who were close to her, including longtime Miami lobbyist Bob Levy, who said he knew her for almost 30 years.
Two weeks ago, Levy said he had dinner with Bullard in Tallahassee.
“She had a heart of gold,” he said. “All of us have hysterical Larcenia stories. But she cared deeply about the people she represented and no one ever got that — why she always got opponents — and why she always blew them away.”
In addition to husband Edward and son Dwight, Bullard is survived by son Vincent Brooker of Philadelphia, daughter Edwina Simms of Orlando, and grandchildren Vinicia, Myles, Mylicia and Gavin Jr.