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Former Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey announced Thursday he’s running for Congress as a Democrat, saying current Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar is “not a serious person.”

“I know this district,” Davey said. “She voted against the infrastructure bill, she voted against the inflation reduction act.”

Davey served two terms as Key Biscayne mayor from 2018 to 2022 after previously being a council member for nearly a decade. A former Republican, he changed parties in 2019 because of the GOP’s embrace of Donald Trump. He ran in 2016 as a candidate for state House, losing in the Republican primary.

“We’re facing serious problems and we need serious people to find serious solutions,” he said. “Washington isn’t working for the American people. There’s too many people were putting their extreme partisanship and their corporate donors ahead of the people they’re supposed to represent.”

He characterized Salazar as being beholden to that extreme wing of his former party.

“She’s part of this pro-Kremlin, pro-Putin wing of the Republican Party,” he said. “She calls Democrats, communists, and yet she’s supporting somebody who’s trying to reinstate the Soviet Union.”

The 27th Congressional District was rated recently as solid Republican by the Cook Political Report, but is politically purple, split nearly evenly between the parties. Because of redistricting, it no longer includes Democrats who reside on Miami Beach. It is heavily Hispanic, including Little Havana.

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“I have a shot,” Davey said Thursday.

Before he gets to Salazar, Davey must defeat Miami-Dade County School Board member Lucia Baez-Geller, who is also running to get the Democratic nomination for the seat.

It’s an uphill climb for both candidates. Salazar has raised more than $1.3 million to Baez-Geller’s $102,000., as of Dec. 31. However, the incumbent — a former Telemundo anchor — recently could not recall what bills she voted for in an interview with CBS News.

This week, after waiting for most of the GOP field to clear, Salazar endorsed Trump. “We need a proven leader to bring the USA back to greatness,” she said of the former President who faces 91 criminal charges and has called for the suspension of the Constitution.

“He’ll present himself well, along with his case to differentiate himself in a positive way in the primary and in the general election,” said Council Member Frank Caplan. “This is a good race and a good time for him to put himself forward. And it’s good for the district overall to have a real choice.”

Davey’s campaign released a statement with support from former State Rep. Nick Duran — who represented District 27 for three terms — and Democratic activist Cecilia Tavera Webman.

“While in office, Mayor Davey Mike and I worked closely together on state funding and policy impacting the community. He proved to be a fierce and engaging advocate for the needs of his citizens. He’s a roll-up-your-sleeves and work-together-to-find solutions kind of leader,” Duran said.

Tavera Webman added that Davey, “exemplifies effective and compassionate leadership, always prioritizing the health, safety, and well-being of our community. “

Editor’s note: This is a developing story.


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.

JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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