Miami Beach House Democrat David Richardson will run for the Congressional District 27 seat being vacated next year by Republican Illeana Ros-Lehtinen.
Richardson has served in the Florida House since 2012, when he became the first openly-gay lawmaker elected in Florida.
He had been considering entering the race after Ros-Lehtinen announced in late April that she would step down when her term ended next year. Richardson told FloridaPolitics’ Scott Powers last month that he would be traveling to Washington D.C. to discuss his candidacy with potential donors and supporters, including leaders of The Victory Fund and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
News of Richardson’s candidacy was first reported on Tuesday by the Miami Herald.
In his time in the House, Richardson has focused intensely on reforming Florida’s prison system, and just in the past year met with more than 120 inmates during more than 30 visits to 23 different corrections facilities, according to the Herald.
Richardson joins a crowded field of Democratic candidates for the race, which also includes state Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, Miami Beach commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, University of Miami academic adviser Michael Hepburn and Mark Anthony Person.
On the GOP side, former Miami Dade County school board member Raquel Regalado ,Miami-Dade County commissioner Bruno Barreiro and Dr. Maria Peiro have announced their candidacies for the seat. Peiro lost to Ros-Lehtinen in the GOP primary last August.
Scott Furhman, the South Miami businessman who lost to Ros-Lehtinen last fall, announced on Tuesday that he would not be running for the seat this year, and told the Herald that he will be backing Richardson in the Democratic primary.