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Michael Hepburn
Michael Hepburn

South Florida

Michael Hepburn files for SD 37, but will remain in CD 27 race

Miami Democrat Michael Hepburn, who is running in the crowded primary for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, filed paperwork Monday to run for state Senate.

Hepburn told Florida Politics that his decision to file for Senate District 37 – the seat currently held by primary rival Jose Javier Fernandez – was not an indication he was looking to end his congressional bid.

He also stressed he filed for 2020, not 2018. The latter could be an option if, as mandated by the new resign-to-run law, JJR opts vacate the seat this month in order to stay in the CD 27 race.

One former CD 27 candidate, Republican Raquel Regalado, also has her eyes on SD 37. She filed for the seat in February and has raised $10,500 for her campaign.

Hepburn, a former University of Miami academic adviser turned full-time candidate, said he thought his campaign was “in a good position to win” the eight-person Democratic Primary or, at the very least, place a close second.

If he loses in the Aug. 28 primary, Hepburn said the SD 37 campaign would help “keep the movement’s momentum going.” If he were to win, he said he’d still have his eyes on the Senate seat.

“At the end of our first term we’ll sit down with constituents and see if we were effective in Congress or if we should push our movement in the state Senate,” he said.

His campaign echoed that in a statement sent Tuesday afternoon, saying he was “laser-focused on winning this upcoming election.”

Despite the optimism, winning the eight-way race would be difficult for even a veteran politician with plenty of financial backing. Hepburn faces a half-dozen of those in the primary: Rodriguez, state Rep. David Richardson, former UM President and HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, former judge Mary Barzee Flores, and Miami Beach Commissioners Kristen Rosen Gonzalez and Ken Russell.

Each have six-figures or more in their campaign accounts, as does former Knight Foundation director and Miami Herald reporter Matt Haggman. Hepburn had $8,000 on hand at the end of last year.

If Rodriguez follows through with resigning, SD 37 may start to look like a more appealing landing spot.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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