HomeLocalHiggins’ abrupt departure from U.S. House race troubles local Dems

Higgins’ abrupt departure from U.S. House race troubles local Dems

Her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives didn’t last long, but some fear that Eileen Higgins’ departure from the Democratic primary has made chances of recapturing the South Florida seat more difficult. Higgins, a County commissioner, left the race to make room for Annette Taddeo, a fellow democrat running for Florida Governor — except Taddeo denies she’s planning on switching races. 

“It borders on political malpractice,” said Fernand Amandi, a democratic pollster, referring to the jumbled primary situation, saying the episode reveals serious discipline and organization issues in the Democratic Party. “They need to resolve this situation yesterday.” 

A Higgins aide said Thursday that the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had said Taddeo was likely to enter the congressional race, but Taddeo and her campaign continue to say she is staying in the race for governor. Taddeo is competing with Rep. Charlie Crist, a former governor, and Nikki Fried, the state agriculture commissioner.

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Jackie Kellogg, who leads Key Biscayne’s Democratic Club, also said the withdrawal was unfortunate and speculated that Taddeo may still enter the race because her campaign for governor is not doing well. She said that Taddeo, Higgins, and Miami Commissioner Ken Russell  would all get support on the island. Russell and Angel Montalvo are currently the only Democratic candidates in the Aug. 23 primary.

The Congressional District 27 seat is currently held by Republican Maria Elvira Salazar, a former television reporter. She is facing a challenge from Frank Polo, a computer engineer. 

Higgins, who represents parts of Brickell and Miami Beach on the County Commission, is still planning to meet with island Democrats later this month, Kellogg said. 

“I think it will be disorganized for two or three days,” Kellogg predicted, adding that once the field is set, Democrats will unite to unseat Salazar. She predicted the recent leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court decision that would overturn the landmark Roe vs. Wade abortion decision would lead many conservative women to vote Democratic. “It will motivate younger voters,” she said. 

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Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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