Wayne Messam facing a challenge for his third term as Miramar Mayor
Wayne Messam goes from presidential candidate to leader of the Florida League of Cities.

Wayne Messam cruised through his last re-election with 86% of the vote.

Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam has a challenger to get by if he’s going to win a third term as Mayor on the city’s Election Day, March 14.

Rudy Theophin, who works in financial services with OneBox Funding, qualified to make his first bid for elected office Tuesday. He’s taking on Messam, a former 2020 presidential candidate who’s been leading the southwest Broward County city since 2015.

More large corporations than any other South Florida city have their operations in Miramar, according to the Sun-Sentinel’s 2019 endorsement for Messam. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Comcast, and Spirit Airlines call the city of 135,000 home.

But Theophin said he’s seeing some areas that need addressing.

“I’m a big fan of the David and Goliath story,” he said, noting he believes his priorities — more infrastructure for the city’s historical district and more dialogue between city police and the community — will resonate with city voters.

Meanwhile, Messam, the city’s first Black Mayor, said he’s still got projects he’d like to see to completion in what he calls one of the country’s most progressive cities.

Messam, who has lived in the city for 18 years, has a story that national political biographies are made of.

He is a first-generation American, born to Jamaican immigrants with his father working the sugar cane fields as a migrant contract worker. He was a member of Florida State University’s 1993 national championship football team. When he’s not on the dais, he’s working as a general contractor, running Messam Construction.

His bid to get on the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket was suspended nine months after he announced it, though, as he failed to qualify for any of the Democratic debates.

For his last city election, though, he won a resounding 86% of the vote for his second term, soundly beating Josue LaRose, whose political career was the target of the satirical Colbert Report in 2012.

Meanwhile, no one qualified to oppose Alexandra Davis, who was re-elected to Miramar City Commission’s Seat 4. She unseated incumbent Darline Riggs in 2019.

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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