Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson would like to see change at the congressional level in his district, but that campaign won’t be led by him.
Richardson told SFGN he has no plans to seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Congressional District 27. The out gay man, who made history by becoming the first openly gay man elected to the Florida legislature, released a statement calling for all potential candidates to announce intentions as soon as possible.
In March the district’s incumbent, Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Coral Gables), outraged LGBT activists when she voted against the Equality Act.
“I was particularly disappointed that Congresswoman Salazar voted against the Equality Act, especially given the significant size of the LGBT community in CD27,” Richardson said. “Further, she seems to have only a rudimentary understanding of the subject and need for the act. This is but one reason that our community is now being underserved by her election and representation in Congress. Democrats must make the re-taking of this district a national priority. While I have no current plans to be a candidate in this contest, I believe it is important for all potential candidates to express their intentions soon to ensure adequate time for fundraising. The campaign will surely be expensive.”
Currently two Democrats have declared for the seat: Janelle Perez and Angel Montalvo. Perez, 34, is a married lesbian and mother who survived a stage four cancer diagnosis. Shortly after announcing her grassroots campaign, Perez raised $150,000 in one day.
“Salazar rejected the Equality Act due to religious freedom,” Perez said. “For me, as an openly gay woman, when somebody uses religious freedom as an excuse for violating someone’s human rights, that’s just an excuse to be discriminatory. It’s masking your hate or dislike for me through religion. It’s your tool or excuse. Your religious freedoms end where my human rights start. I very much support people having religious freedoms but it doesn’t go over human rights.”
Both Perez and Salazar are daughters of Cuban exiles. Salazar, 59, a former television reporter, flipped the district during the 2020 election when she ousted sitting Congresswoman Donna Shalala. Richardson finished second to Shalala in the 2018 Democratic primary, but quickly recovered to win a seat on the Miami Beach Commission.
President Joe Biden won the district making Salazar’s victory even more surprising. Redistricting could change the field with Florida scheduled to add the 28th district from the recent census.