Miami state Sen. Annette Taddeo is the latest high-profile Democrat to mount a challenge to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after she officially announced she’s entering the race for governor during a news conference in Tallahassee on Monday, The Hill reports.
Taddeo filed her campaign documents with Florida’s Division of Elections on Monday morning, shaking the Democratic field in the Democratic gubernatorial primary that has been so far dominated by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and US Rep. Charlie Crist.
Taddeo, who served as Crist’s running mate during his 2014 bid for governor, has long been expected to jump into the Florida governor’s race but the first sign of her intentions to reach further than the reelection campaign for her state Senate seat was presented earlier this month, when her political committee announced hiring several consultants.
Yet, Colombia-born Taddeo enters the race with a distinct advantage because she’ll be in position to appeal to Latinos in South and Central Florida, the state where Hispanics make up nearly 27% of the population and are an influential voting bloc in the state, but she’ll be unable to raise money for her political committee when the legislative session starts in January since she’s still a sitting state senator..
She was previously critical of her party’s outreach to Latino voters, blaming Democrats for waiting too long and for failing to more forcibly push back on Republican allegations of socialism, the front and center talking point in Florida last year.
Taddeo would become the first Latina candidate to earn a major party nomination for Florida governor if she’s elected as the Democratic nominee and Florida’s first Latina governor if she wins her bid as the only non-white gubernatorial candidate among the top contenders.
But it will be extremely hard for Taddeo to defeat the incumbent governor and rising Republican star DeSantis who has so far amassed a $53 million war chest in a situation in which Democrats will have to play catch-up with voter registration efforts, as Republicans ramp up their ground game, and to address the swell of support that Republicans gained among Hispanic supporters in Florida in 2020, especially in Miami-Dade County.