Gov. race announcement imminent? Annette Taddeo unveils new staff for political committee

The new hires seem to indicate Taddeo has bigger things on her mind.

Democrat Annette Taddeo has said she’s thinking of making a run for Governor, and Friday’s news release from the unopposed Senator’s campaign seems to indicate she’s doing more than thinking about it.

Nothing is confirmed, though, except that Fight Back Florida has hired some high-powered talent drawn from winning campaigns such as former President Barack Obama’s effort in Florida and Daniella Levine Cava’s successful Miami-Dade County Mayor campaign.

“It sounds like the staff you hire when you’re running for the office you already hold that doesn’t have an opponent on the ballot,” sarcastically quipped Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida.

Taddeo’s news release talks about going up against the odds.

“In 2017 we launched Fight Back Florida as my commitment to give a voice to those who believed the impossible could be achieved,” Taddeo said. “This committee played a key role in helping flip a state Senate seat and showed that when we invest the right resources, and build a winning team, we can overcome even the harshest skeptics.”

Taddeo faces an uphill battle if she does run for Governor. She’s never won statewide office like the two Democrats already in the race, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. And the current incumbent, Gov. Ron DeSantis, has a national profile with a fundraising juggernaut. Friday, though, Taddeo announced she’s bringing on an all-female “senior leadership team” for her political committee.

The team includes:

Jackie Lee, senior advisor. Her resume includes leadership roles for both Obama’s election and reelection campaigns, successful campaigns in Florida for constitutional amendments to stop gerrymandering and to restore felons’ voting rights.

Allison Clark, senior campaign coordinator. Her bragging rights include a campaign defeating a 16-year-incumbent in the Hillsborough State Attorney’s race, registering 300,000 people of color and founding Black & Blu Research, LLC, a boutique research agency.

Millie Raphael, senior coalitions advisor. She founded Progress For Florida, a consulting firm, which helped Crystal Wagar become Miami Shores’ first Black female mayor.

Stephanie Bromfield, senior coalitions advisory. She is an outreach consultant who has been credited with key wins in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, including Levine Cava.

Jewett says it’s not unusual to see a politician building up staff in anticipation of a run that may or may not actually happen. If she does announce for Governor, Taddeo will be able to hit the ground running, he said.

“This definitely seems like a clear indication of someone getting ready to throw her hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination for Governor,” Jewett said.

Clark said she’s excited to be a part of a team fighting for Florida’s future.

“This group of talented professional are laying the ground work to build strong coalitions across Florida that reflect the new generation of leadership that can ensure our state continues to be one of the leading battlegrounds in the nation,” Clark said in the release. “The coming days and weeks will show why we’ve come together at this pivotal moment.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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