After months of considering a run, former state Sen. Annette Taddeo is officially in the race for Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller.
“I am proud to announce my candidacy,” Taddeo said in a statement.
“We need public servants who will put our county residents first versus special interests or political agendas. Our Clerk (plays) a vital role in local government, ensuring that transparency, accountability and accessibility in our justice system is strong. And now with the addition of Comptroller, I will be laser-focused on protecting our residents’ tax dollars and committed to being a steward of our $11.7 billion budget.”
Taddeo, a Democrat, has had her eye on the Clerk job since last year. She told Florida Politics in August she was “having a lot of conversations” about challenging former state Representative and incumbent Republican Clerk Juan Fernandez-Barquin, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed in June.
“The last thing that office needs is someone who carried water for the Governor with horrible bills that are detrimental to our country and have been called unconstitutional in our courts,” she said then, referring in part to Fernandez-Barquin’s so-called “anti-riot” bill lawmakers passed in 2021, which a federal judge partly blocked later that year.
Taddeo also cited as problematic Fernandez-Barquin’s support in the House of measures preempting local governance, including a bill he carried solidifying law enforcement powers under the county’s returning Sheriff’s Office, and another he backed allowing businesses to halt enforcement of local ordinances through lawsuits.
“There’s been such an attack on home rule from Tallahassee in particular,” she said. “It’s important we have people in office who are there for the good of the whole county, not to do harm, and continue the great work (late Miami-Dade Clerk) Harvey Ruvin did for so long.”
Fernandez-Barquin replaced Clerk’s Office General Counsel Luis Montaldo, who took over as Clerk after the death of Ruvin, the county’s longtime Clerk and one of the most well-regarded local politicians in Miami-Dade history.
Chief Judge Nushin Sayfie appointed Montaldo on Jan. 2, 2023, to lead the 1,100-person office as interim Clerk. The Governor’s decree superseded that decision six months later.
In a brief phone conversation Monday, Taddeo told Florida Politics she wants to return the Clerk’s Office to being a more politically neutral agency. She said she’s been preparing for the job, in part, by shadowing Palm Beach County Clerk Joseph Abruzzo and conferring with other Clerks throughout the state.
“I knew what the demands of the job were,” she said. “But I wanted to get a feel for how I could make life better for the residents of Miami-Dade County, and I found so many things to do.”
Taddeo has been in something of a political limbo since her unsuccessful challenge against Republican U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar in November 2022. She made history in a 2017 Special Election as the first Latina Democrat to win a seat in the Florida Senate. A year later, she won re-election to a four-year term.
During her time in office, she passed legislation to expand education and mental health provisions, safeguard the environment and improve transparency in homeowner’s insurance policies.
In private life, she owns and operates LanguageSpeak, a small business that provides translation services.