Democratic candidate Ken Russell will no longer compete with Democratic Rep. Val Demings’ Senate campaign — and will instead seek to oust GOP U.S Rep. María Elvira Salazar in CD 27.
Russell — a Miami commissioner — announced the switch in a video published Sunday. In it, he acknowledged Demings as the clear Democratic front-runner to oust Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
“She has a better chance of winning this race than I do right now,” Russell said. “By infighting in the primary, it only hurts all of us as a party and this county.”
— Ken Russell (@kenforflorida) May 1, 2022
Russell will now take aim at CD 27, a district he described as winnable. Salazar in 2020 narrowly won the seat, inching out a Democratic incumbent — Donna Shalala — with roughly 51% of the vote.
“I’m moving into a race in Congress I know I can win,” Russell added. “We need unity. We need to be organized as Democrats and we just never are.”
The Senate contest between Rubio and Demings ranks among the most-watched races of the 2022 midterms.
The $30 million apiece raised by the leading Senate candidates in Florida makes the Rubio-Demings contest the only Senate battle in the country where both candidates are anywhere near that stratosphere of fundraising and attention.
Nationally, only four candidates have raised more than either of them: Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, with $67 million; South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, with $42 million; Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, with $38 million; and Senate President Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, whose has raised $37 million so far.
Meanwhile, Democrats are losing ground in Florida both in representation and in voter rolls. For the first time in history, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Sunshine State.
Russell described the decision to take on Salazar as a strategic move. CD 27 is a Miami-area congressional district.
“It’s the only flippable seat we know we should be going after,” Russell said.
Russell has served as the City of Miami District 2 Commissioner since 2015.