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Issue #10: Annette Taddeo for FL Governor?
The Miami-Dade State Senator is considering a bid
Florida Democrats are just under a year away from the 2022 August Primary for Governor. Team blue, eager to knock off Ron DeSantis before his eventual Presidential run, have two candidates already hot on the campaign trail.
Charlie Crist: The former Republican Governor and current Democratic Congressman
Nikki Fried: The current Agriculture Commissioner and only statewide Democrat in the state
And as of, well right now, the primary is officially about to get nasty. This tweet went out from Nikki Fried on Thursday night.
Well, the primary may be about to get more crowded. Because it looks like State Senator Annette Taddeo is considering a bid for Governor.
Annette Taddeo has been involved in Miami-Dade elections for over a decade. Her first foray into electoral politics was 2008, when she made an unsuccessful bid against longtime FL-18 Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Taddeo lost this race, as did every other Democrat who made an effort to take on the popular politician. Taddeo would eventually get elected as the Chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Democratic party. In 2014, she was the Democratic candidate for LT Governor, running with Charlie Crist in a narrow losing effort to Rick Scott.
Oh wait? So she and Charlie might end up running against each-other after being running mates 7 years ago? Awkward.
Taddeo would eventually find electoral success in 2017; winning a special election for a Miami-Dade state senate district: SD40. Taddeo beat a very strong Republican: State Representative José Félix Díaz in an expensive and bruising contest.
The district was opened up after incumbent Republican Frank Artiles was forced to resign in personal scandal. YES - THE SAME FRANK ARTILES CURRENTLY BEING CHARGED IN A SCHEME TO SECRETLY FUND THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES IN STATE SENATE BIDS!
Artiles, at the time, was forced out when it was revealed he had used racist language while speaking/yelling at African-American lawmakers. Yeah he’s a piece of garbage. Everyone hates his guts.
Artiles won his seat by defeating Democrat Dwight Bullard in the 2016 contest.
Artiles’ win came the same day the district easily voted for Hillary Clinton. Trump, at the time, was very unpopular in Florida’s Cuban/Hispanic community. As a result, Trump lost every legislative district in Miami-Dade - but Republicans held most of the Hispanic-majority seats. Miami-Dade was a land of ticket splitting at that point. Artiles also benefitted from Bullard being an outright bad campaigner.
With Artiles out, the special election of 2017 gave Democrats a much-needed moral boost after 2016. They picked up a heavily Hispanic district with a large Cuban population. At the time, it seemed like Democratic success down-ballot in Miami-Dade was on an upswing.
Taddeo wouldn’t be able to rest on her victory. She would need to run for a full term in the 2018 midterms. Many speculated she would be a top-tier target. However, Taddeo was able to build a base of support in the district over the court of the next year. Republicans, meanwhile, were working to defend other districts. Taddeo would go on to win re-election by 7% against Mariana Cancio, a lawyer and conservative pundit.
Taddeo was re-elected the same day Bill Nelson won the district by 8% - a bit better than Taddeo. Nelson overperformed Taddeo most in the Cuban-heavy north - while Taddeo outperformed in non-Cuban Hispanic, white, and African-American precincts.
Taddeo’s election and re-election do give her credibility to make a play for higher office. In addition, local trends might be… shall I say… speeding up… consideration.
Taddeo, and in fact the entire Senate, will be up for re-election in 2022. However, Taddeo may be feeling that her time in the Senate is at serious risk. One can’t blame her.
After all, 2016 to 2020 swing map in Miami-Dade County is a pretty scary sight for any local democrat.
The Democratic collapse in Miami-Dade, going from a Clinton +30% to Biden +7% margin, is a major problem for local Democrats if the change holds. Taddeo is now the ONLY Democrat to sit in a Donald Trump district.
Taddeo is very lucky she was not up for re-election in 2020. This is not a knock on her, but I seriously doubt she would have held on if Trump was winning her district by 6%.
The other races in 2020 in Miami-Dade went no better. In State Senate Districts 37, Democratic incumbent José Javier Rodríguez lost a painful re-election by under 100 votes.
Btw, that’s the race that sparked the Frank Artiles corruption/bribery probe.
Democrats had hoped to take SD39, which was being opened up by a termed out Republican. This effort, which involved a clash of two state representatives, fell far short. Trump won the 39th and the GOP easily held this massive district.
Taddeo sees these results the same way many of us do. Miami-Dade is going to require a great deal of Democratic re-building. What will make things potentially worse for Taddeo is that redistricting makes her district’s fate unclear. The GOP hold full control of the process; but are limited by the Fair Districts Amendments. However, only a fool would think GOP operatives aren’t working on ways to circumvent and get around the anti-gerrymandering rules that Florida passed in 2010.
For Taddeo, a hail-marry play for Governor may be better than sticking around in Miami-Dade
Looking Toward 2022
Will Taddeo run? We will have to wait and see to be sure. But whether its a 2-way or 3-way race, this primary is almost sure to end up nasty and a fight over competing visions of the party.
The Florida Republican Party is grabbing a snack and ready to watch the fireworks.