Less than a month after her campaign denied she was leaving the Florida gubernatorial race, Miami state Sen. Annette Taddeo is announcing plans to run for Florida’s 27th Congressional District.
Taddeo confirmed the move to the Herald on Monday afternoon, about two weeks from the end of the qualifying period to appear on the ballot for the Aug. 23 primary. Among the Democratic candidates running to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican, is Miami Commissioner Ken Russell.
“Frankly, a lot has happened in the last few weeks and after the tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde, I actually had a pretty (hard) heart-to-heart conversation with my daughter and I knew what I needed to do,” Taddeo told the Herald, saying her decision to drop out of the governor’s race was a result of “a combination of a lot of things.”
“There’s a definite need, there’s a definite void,” Taddeo said. “I think we’re going to give Miamians the opportunity to have a real representative who will be upfront with them.”
Citing an encouraging amount of support in her run for Congress, Taddeo said that some of the issues she wants to focus on in her congressional campaign are addressing the affordability crisis in South Florida, school safety and access to abortions.
“Our own kids are going to have less freedoms than we have been afforded,” Taddeo said. She has a 15-year-old daughter and two adult stepdaughters.
Taddeo launched her campaign for governor in October as “the grassroots candidate” who reflects the Hispanic communities that Florida Democrats have struggled to win over in recent election cycles.
Her departure from the race leaves U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried as the top contenders for the Democratic nomination in the run to challenge Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In a statement, Crist said Taddeo is a “force to be reckoned with” and a “dear friend.” Taddeo was Crist’s running mate in his failed bid for governor in 2014.
“She is a tireless public servant and fearless advocate for working Floridians across the Sunshine State and in South Florida,” Crist said. “And I wish her nothing but the best as she embarks on her run for Congress.”
Fried released a statement supporting Taddeo’s run for Congress while attacking her main opponent, Crist, as “a three-time statewide loser and self-described ‘pro-life’ former Republican.”
Russell said in a statement, " I am the right candidate to take on the country’s most vulnerable GOP freshman. Although primaries are a healthy part of democracy, I will continue to focus on the number one goal in this race — unseating María Elvira Salazar who has failed to deliver any results for her constituents.”
Taddeo said she’s not ready to make an endorsement in the gubernatorial primary.