State Sen. Annette Taddeo’s campaign is looking to tamp down rumors she is ready to run for Congress in South Florida instead and end her bid for Governor.
News of Taddeo’s potential shift came out of a different campaign. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins announced on Wednesday she’s suspending her own campaign in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, and will instead support Taddeo’s entry into the race.
If that were true, Taddeo, a Miami Democrat, would have to give up her bid for Governor and challenge U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, a Republican who unseated Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala in 2020.
But Nick Merlino, Taddeo’s gubernatorial campaign manager, seemed to push back against those rumors in a late Wednesday statement.
“Because rumors are swirling let me be perfectly clear,” he tweeted. “Annette Taddeo will be the first Latina Governor in Florida history. Full stop.”
Yet Taddeo faces significant challenges in the gubernatorial contest. She entered the Governor’s race late and has struggled to compete in fundraising. Her official campaign raised just $29,434 in April. Her Fight Back Florida committee raised $78,925. She has faced U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat, and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only Democrat now holding statewide office. Both those campaigns have raised millions. Taddeo ran as Crist’s running mate when he last ran for Governor, as the Democratic nominee in 2014.
Taddeo won her seat in the Florida Senate in a 2017 Special Election in Senate District 40, narrowly defeating former Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and flipping that seat from red to blue. She defended the seat in 2020, even as Republican Donald Trump won there with 52.47% of the vote and Democrats throughout South Florida suffered losses.
That could make her well suited to run in CD 27, the most closely divided district in the state of Florida. Trump won in the jurisdiction with just 49.76% of the vote in 2020, while Democrat Joe Biden won 49.49% of the vote.
Like Taddeo, Salazar was able to outperform her party’s presidential nominee. She won with 51% of the vote to Shalala’s 49%. And the once-a-decade restricting process has made the city somewhat more Republican-friendly.
Throughout Taddeo’s campaign for Governor, the Colombian-American has argued she offered bipartisan appeal and a record of performing well with South Florida’s Hispanic voters.