Miami-Dade Firefighters local union president Omar Blanco has filed a 2020 congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission, the prelude to him announcing his candidacy. Should he win the 26th District Republican nomination, he will face freshman Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Miami) in a seat the Democrats converted away from Republican hands in 2018. The presence of a Hispanic Republican union president as the GOP nominee will make this race one to watch.
Donna Shalala, the former Health & Human Services Secretary and president to both the University of Wisconsin and Miami University, won a south Florida congressional seat in the last election. She defeated former Spanish-language channel news anchorwoman Maria Elvira Salazar, 52-46% in the 2018 general election. Yesterday, in an expected move, Ms. Salazar announced that she will return for a re-match next year.
The region that comprises the 27th District was in Republican hands for 30 years in the person of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Her retirement last year allowed Shalala to win the open seat, in a district that had been significantly changed in the 2015 state Supreme Court redistricting mandate. This will be a competitive 2020 campaign, but Rep. Shalala must be regarded as a clear favorite for re-election.
Freshman Rep. Ross Spano (R-Dover/Lakeland) has drawn one opponent while another exits for a different race. Freshman state Rep. Adam Hattersley (D-Hillsborough County) formally announced his congressional campaign yesterday, prompting candidate Andrew Learned to leave the congressional campaign to instead compete for Hattersley’s open state House seat. Two minor candidates remain, but it is now likely that Messrs. Spano and Hattersley will battle for the congressional seat in the fall of 2020.
This area, just east of Tampa, has been in Republican hands since the Lakeland anchored congressional seat was created as the 12th District in the 1991 redistricting plan. During that span, Republicans Charles Canady, Adam Putnam, and Dennis Ross had all held the seat prior to Mr. Spano winning last November.
Former Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-Miami), who lost his seat in November after serving two terms, clarified yesterday that he will not return for a 2020 re-match with freshman Rep. Debbie Murcasel-Powell (D-Miami). Instead, Mr. Curbelo confirmed that he is considering becoming a candidate in the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s race. Without Curbelo in the congressional field, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell is in much stronger position to win her first re-election campaign.
Freshman state Rep. Margaret Good (D-Sarasota) defeated state Rep. James Buchanan (R-Sarasota) in the 2018 election to win her seat in the state House. Mr. Buchanan is the son of US Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota), and now Ms. Good has announced that she will challenge the elder Buchanan next year. The 16th District has performed as a reliable Republican district in its basic form since the 1992 election. Rep. Buchanan turned back a strong challenge from Democratic candidate David Shapiro in the 2018 election with a 55-45% victory. Mr. Shapiro spent over $2.5 million on the campaign.
Despite Ms. Good’s upset of the younger Buchanan last year, the elder Buchanan looks to be a tougher nut for her to crack.
Yet another Democratic incumbent is being challenged for the party nomination. At the end of last week, attorney Jennifer Perelman announced that she will oppose Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) in the 2020 Democratic primary.
In 2016, law professor Tim Canova challenged Rep. Wasserman Schultz and, armed with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ support, he raised just under $4 million for his campaign effort. Yet, even with his strong resources, Mr. Canova could do no better than hold Rep. Wasserman Schultz to a 57-43% Democratic primary victory. Therefore, Ms. Perelman has a high mountain to climb if she is to force the Congresswoman into a competitive race.
Republican businesswoman and human trafficking activist Jan Edwards has already ended her challenge to sophomore Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park). The 7th District is marginal but became more Democratic once the state Supreme Court implemented a mid-decade redistricting procedure. Four candidates remain in the Republican field, but none appear to be major candidates. At this point, Rep. Murphy is a clear favorite for re-election.
Despite his diagnosis as having Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, 14-term Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach) announced yesterday that he will seek re-election next year. Many believed his serious health situation would force him to retire, but the Congressman will continue to move forward. He will be a prohibitive favorite for re-election in 2020.
Change Research conducted a Florida poll (6/16-17; 1,130 FL likely Democratic primary voters via automated voice response system) and again found former Vice President Joe Biden leading in the 30- percentile range. But, the mover in this survey is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg who bounces back into double-digits and creates a three-way race for second place. The ballot test finds Mr. Biden holding 33% support with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) following at 20%, while Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tie for third place at 15% apiece.
Florida is the fourth largest state at the Democratic National Convention with 219 first ballot delegates. If this poll were completely accurate, Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, and Warren would all qualify for Florida convention votes under the Democratic Party delegate dispersion formula.
State Rep. Adam Hattersley (D-Riverview) yesterday announced that he will challenge freshman Rep. Russ Spano (R-Dover). The new Congressman won his post with a 53-47% victory over Democratic nominee Kristen Carlson, in 2018. Mr. Spano replaced Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Lakeland), who retired. Controversy arose around Mr. Spano just after the election when it was learned that his campaign may have accepted illegal loans, but no hearings have been scheduled nor penalties assessed.
It appears that Mr. Hattersley will be stronger Democratic candidate than Ms. Carlson, so this central Florida seat figures to be competitive next year.
The Rundown Blog
Before you vote, learn more about the candidates who will support a pro-jobs America.