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Democrat Taddeo ends bid for Florida governor, will run for Miami House seat

Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo announced on Monday that she would exit her state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary and instead run for a Miami-based House seat. 

Taddeo jumped into the Democratic primary for governor in the fall, throwing herself into contention with two other prominent Florida Democrats, Rep. Charlie Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. 

But Taddeo’s campaign struggled to gain the kind of traction needed to win the primary. She also found herself at a significant financial disadvantage; because Taddeo is a sitting state senator, she is not allowed to fundraise for her campaign while the legislature is in session.

Taddeo said that she will instead seek to challenge Rep. Maria E. Salazar (R) in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. She said she was inspired to make the switch after the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas.

“We are at a pivotal moment in our country and we desperately need leadership in Washington that can be trusted to put politics aside for the best interests of Miamians,” she said in a statement. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity to earn the trust and support of the people who live in Florida’s 27th Congressional District which includes much of the area I’ve been grateful to represent in my historic time in the Florida Senate since 2017,” she added.

Taddeo’s decision to end her gubernatorial campaign to run for a battleground district in South Florida is likely to be welcome news for Democrats, who struggled for months to recruit a top-tier candidate to challenge Salazar. 

It also clears the way for a head-to-head match-up between Crist and Fried for the Democratic nomination for governor. The eventual winner will take on Gov. Ron DeSantis, an archconservative and rising GOP star, in the November general election.

Even before Taddeo’s announcement on Monday, there was speculation that she would run for the Miami-based House seat.

Democratic Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins announced last month that she would end her campaign to represent the 27th District, saying that she caught wind that Taddeo would soon enter the race. Taddeo’s campaign at the time denied the rumor.

Still, defeating Salazar won’t be easy. 

Salazar won the seat in 2020, ousting Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), who managed to flip the seat from Republican hands only two years earlier. What’s more, Democrats are facing a tough political environment in 2022 as they look to defend their paper-thin congressional majorities.

Tags Annette Taddeo Annette Taddeo Charlie Crist Florida Florida governor's race Florida House race
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