Wayne Messam’s challenger doesn’t appear a threat, campaign finance reports show

Wayne Messam
The Miramar Mayor's challenger has yet to file any campaign finance reports.

Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam appears poised to glide to a third term as Mayor on the city’s Election Day, March 14, if campaign reports are any indication.

A qualified opponent, Rudy Theophin, did not file a campaign treasurer’s report in time for the deadline, according to the city website. Theophin, who works in financial services with OneBox Funding, is making his first bid for elected office, taking on the two-term mayor who also made a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Messam’s report was filed Feb. 5, showing that he’s collected $70,000 in contributions for his latest bid for re-election and $14,326 in the last month.

For January, donors giving Messam the maximum $1,000 are Javonte Anyabwele of Miramar, vice president of Carnival Corp.; Raquel Ramirez of Miramar, who is not employed; Government Law Group in Fort Lauderdale; lawyer Keith Poliakoff; real estate developer David Deutch of Pinecrest; real estate developer Louis Wolfson III of Coral Gables; Indemnity Security & Investigations of Pembroke Pines.

Campaign finance reports from November and December on file with the city for Messam’s campaign, but Theophin has just his qualifying documents as of Sunday. The due date for treasurer reports was Feb. 10.

Messam, the city’s first Black Mayor running on the theme, “Promises Kept,” might be a tough candidate for a political novice to take on. 

In addition to living in the city for 18 years to Theophin’s shorter term as a resident, Messam has a rags-to-riches biography that reads like an American classic.

He is first-generation American, born to Jamaican immigrants who gained a foothold with his father working the sugar cane fields as a migrant contract worker. Messam grew up and became a member of Florida State University’s 1993 national championship football team.

Messam has gone on to start his own business, Messam Construction, a general contracting company. His time has Mayor has seen the addition of major corporate offices to the city, such as Royal Caribbean Cruises, Comcast and Spirit Airlines. 

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.

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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