Once considered a strong candidate to replace the retiring Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a congressional seat sought heavily by Miami Democrats, former school board member Raquel Regalado is dropping out of the Republican primary for Florida’s 27th district.
Regalado announced her decision to bow out of the race in a letter Wednesday to the Miami Herald Editorial Board, saying she was disenchanted with the “ineffective and circus-like” atmosphere around the highly polarized federal government. She said she will “continue to fight for our community, especially for the most vulnerable among us. But for now I will do so as a private citizen.”
“I refuse to compromise my values and beliefs; I refuse to accept disrespect, intolerance and vulgarity as our new norm and I refuse to be part of this two-party pantomime,” Regalado wrote. “I am and will remain a moderate voice.”
Though she described her decision as one based on beliefs and principles, Regalado had struggled the last several months to raise money. She reported raising only $15,000 through the end of September, which she attributed to Hurricane Irma. And her ability to raise money — which she displayed during a failed bid for Miami-Dade mayor last year — likely only diminished this month with her father, Tomás Regalado, leaving office as mayor of Miami and her brother, Tommy, failing to win a seat on the Miami City Commission.
Regalado, 43, entered the race in May as a moderate Republican looking to hold the increasingly left-leaning district for the Republican party. Though Ros-Lehtinen performed well for decades, Hillary Clinton won the district over Donald Trump last year by 20 percentage points and Democrats have been gunning for the seat.
As a divorced mother of a son and daughter diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who supports gay rights and believes in climate change, Regalado represented a possible bridge for the party in a swing district that covers a swath of coastal, southeastern Miami-Dade and Miami Beach. She announced in May that she would campaign for Ros-Lehtinen’s seat, casting herself as something of Ros-Lehtinen’s political heir.
But she seemed to have trouble gaining steam. While she struggled to raise money, a slew of Democratic candidates have reported six-figure fundraising efforts and County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro raised $218,000 (Bettina Rodriguez-Aguilera has reported $4,990.)
Attempts to reach Regalado to discuss her candidacy the last two days were unsuccessful.
“Really busy no joke,” she texted Tuesday.
Regalado, an attorney by trade, didn’t say whether she has given up on politics. In the meantime, she’ll continue to work in her new job as director of operations for Ricardo Tabet’s Optimum Development USA, a South Florida real estate developer.