Forum for two Dems running in CD27 primary against Maria Elvira SalazarPolitical Cortadito

Two Democrats who want to face Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar in District 27 this November will be at a forum on Thursday sponsored by the Democrats of South Dade Club.

The August 27 primary will pit former Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey, an employment attorney, against Miami-Dade School Board Member Lucia Baez Geller, a former high school English teacher.

Observers have predicted an uphill battle for either of them in November in a District that is increasingly red. Salazar does have two primary GOP opponents, but neither is a serious threat. She has raised at least $1.8 to defend her seat and has been the biggest cheerleader to former President Donald Trump, missing votes to be by his side during the trial.

She ‘s already been floated as a possible vice presidential pick. Watch out, Marco Rubio.

Davey, who announced his candidacy in February, after Baez Geller, has more than caught up in fundraising, with $314,000 reported at the last campaign finance report for the first quarter. Baez Geller, who has been campaigning since November, has raised $241,000, according to federal election records. Davey hyped his haul in an April 2 statement:

“It is clear that South Florida is ready for a solutions-driven leader focused on solving problems and putting people, not politics, first. While extreme politicians like Maria Elvira Salazar attack our rights and sow chaos and dysfunction, I’m running for Congress to protect our freedoms and ensure everyone has the opportunity to get ahead.”

From what Ladra has seen, both Baez-Geller and Davey have concentrated on hitting Salazar and not each other. In January, Salazar was grilled by CBS4’s Jim DeFede about taking credit for bringing federal funds when she voted against the bills. She said she couldn’t remember how she voted.

Days later, Baez-Geller released a web video that called her a liar and listed all the different projects that she voted against, for a total of $24 million.

Baez-Geller got some key endorsements early, before Davey filed, from former Sen. Annette Taddeo, who lost to Salazar in 2022, and former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who is running against Sen. Rick Scott. She also got nods from State Rep. Kevin Chambliss (Homestead), State Rep. Ashley Gantt, Palmetto Bay Council members Steve Cody and Marsha Matson, Pinecrest Council member Katie Abbott, former Congresswoman Donna Shalala and former State Rep. Elaine Bloom.

She has also gotten the endorsements from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus-affiliated PAC, Elect Democratic Women, and EMILY’s List, a Washington-based organization dedicated to electing women who support abortion rights, an issue many say will be a driving force with the statewide amendment in November. Dems are counting on that to drive out turnout among Democrat and independent voters, who tend to lean Democrat.

Last year at the school board, Baez-Geller sponsored a resolution to make October LGBTQ+ History Month. It failed 5-3.

According to her website, Baez Geller is the daughter of a Colombian mother, and a Cuban father who fled the island during the Mariel refugee crisis after spending a month without food and water at the Peruvian embassy in Havana. Raised mostly by her single mother, Baez Geller is the first in her family to go to college and became a teacher for Miami-Dade Public Schools, teaching English and Language Arts at Miami Beach Senior High from 2005 until her election in 2020.

Read related: Abortion rights, recreational pot make Florida ballot, may help Democrats

She has worked with the Educational Excellence School Advisory Council, the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and served as the Education Chair with the League of Women Voters. In 2013, Baez-Geller earned the Political Advocate of the Year Award from the National Education Association.

According to his website, Mike Davey is the son of first generation Americans and is married to a Peruvian-American woman who came to the U.S at the height of the violence and terrorism caused by the Shining Path, the Communist Party of Peru. He is an employment attorney who moved to Key Biscayne from New York after 9/11. He was first elected to the village council in 2006 and subsequently became the mayor in 2018, leaving after two terms.

But he wasn’t always a Democrat. Davey was registered as a Republican and even ran in a GOP primary for a Florida House seat in 2016. He said he became a Democrat in 2018.

District 27 covers Miami, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Key Biscayne, Pinecrest, North Bay Village, South Miami, West Miami and several unincorporated Miami-Dade County neighborhoods.

The primary is on Aug. 20. The general election is Nov. 5.

This candidate forum Thursday begins at 7 p.m. at the Elk’s Lodge in South Miami, 6304 SW 78th St. There might still be time to submit questions

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