Several Florida Democratic leaders are trying to draft former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell to challenge U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.
Prominent activists and political organizers said the Miami Democrat represents the best chance to challenge the Republican incumbent.
“Debbie Mucarsel-Powell would be a game-changing candidate for U.S. Senate,” said Jeffrey Mitchell, President of the South Florida AFL-CIO.
Mucarsel-Powell won a seat in Congress in 2018, unseating Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo. She lost re-election two years later to Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez, who has since won a second term in Congress.
Mitchell said Mucarsel-Powell still has a personal history with voters who Democrats must win over in order to compete with Scott.
“When the pandemic started in 2020, Debbie went out of her way to ensure that essential workers had the PPE and resources they desperately need,” Mitchell said.
“Labor across Florida would stand with her as she stood for us: knocking doors, making calls and organizing to beat Rick Scott. He is a fraud. We know that Debbie has the strength, the work ethic and the fire in her belly to beat him — and we’ll be with her. We’re urging her to run. Democracy is at stake.”
Lillian Tomayo, former President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, also said pro-choice voters would rally around Mucarsel-Powell.
“I’ve worked with Debbie for years and trust her to be a leader in the reproductive rights movement,” Tomayo said
“Our state is facing a turning point. The Republican-passed abortion ban will damage the lives of Florida families in every single part of our state. We need real action and leaders to show up for women’s rights and health care — that person is Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. This movement is urging her to run for Senate. Too much is at stake.”
All this comes as Democrats in Washington openly try to draft Mucarsel-Powell. She has since worked in various capacities for President Joe Biden’s administration. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has talked to Mucarsel-Powell about potentially running for Senate in 2024, and U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC, told POLITICO that Mucarsel-Powell would be a “fantastic recruit” for the race.
Florida Democratic consultants believe Mucarsel-Powell may be looking to see what support exists within the state. Democratic organizers rallying Hispanic voters say Mucarsel-Powell, the first Ecuadorian American to serve in Congress, would love to see her run.
“I’ve heard from Cuban Americans across Florida excited about the idea of Debbie Mucarsel-Powell running for Senate,” said Horacio Sierra, president of Cuban American Democrats.
“Debbie is a believer in freedom and democracy — and as an immigrant herself, she can speak directly to Hispanics across Florida whose desires to live the American Dream have been crushed by selfish Republicans like Rick Scott. We need her to run. I urge her to run.”
Marcos Vilar, President and CEO of the Kissimmee-based Alianza for Progress, agrees.
“Debbie’s a proven leader in Florida, having her as our next U.S. Senator would help get our country back on track,” he said.
“With the support of so many of us across Florida, I urge her to run. An immigrant who came to this country at 14 seeking the American Dream, her mother worked double shifts as a home health care provider, while Debbie put herself through school. After a successful professional career, she was elected to Congress in an evenly divided district in South Florida, showing she can win in one of the toughest states. Her story is an inspiring one that resonates with millions across the sunshine state. We need her to fight for us in the US Senate.”