Several Democrats are planning to run in the district held by Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents a left-leaning Miami-Dade district that Hillary Clinton won by 20 percentage points.
In 2016, Ros-Lehtinen fended off a challenge from Democrat Scott Fuhrman in November after District 27 was redrawn to lean Democratic. Furhman has said he will run for the seat again in 2018. Fuhrman lost 45-55 to Ros-Lehtinen, the best any challenger had achieved against Ros-Lehtinen, who has been in office since 1989.
Here’s a quick look at the other Democrats who have filed to run in the coastal southeastern Miami-Dade district, according to Federal Election Commission reports:
Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: She is in the second year of her first term on the Miami Beach City Commission and a Miami Dade College professor finishing her PhD on leadership in higher education administration at Barry University.
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Michael A. Hepburn: A Miami native, Hepburn is a member of the Miami Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and serves on the Allapattah Neighborhood Association and the Miami Dade Democratic Executive Committee. He works as a senior academic advisor for the School of Business at the University of Miami. Hepburn lost a primary against Daphne Campbell for the state House in 2014.
Mark Anthony Person filed to run with the state Division of Elections but his name was not listed with the Federal Election Commission and he could not be reached for comment.
Ros-Lehtinen has been one of the main GOP critics of President Donald Trump, including the Republican Party's health care overhaul, which Trump backed.
The Cook Political Report, which publishes a Partisan Voting Index, named Ros-Lehtinen third on the list of the 10 Republicans in the most Democratic districts in the nation. Miami U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo topped the list.
“Most districts are gerrymandered to the point where folks only have to listen to the most conservative positions, the most conservative viewpoints, and think that the other side is full of hogwash arguments. That's not true,” Ros-Lehtinen previously told the Miami Herald. “I'm very comfortable with this district because it is actually a reflection of me: Sometimes I'm conservative, and on some issues I'm more moderate.”