There's A Black Florida Mayor Who May Be Looking To Shake Up The 2020 Presidential Race
The 44-year-old serves as the ceremonial mayor of a town of about 140,000.
February 14, 2019 at 7:14 am
A mayor of one of Florida's fastest growing cities is considering a presidential run in 2020.
In the already crowded Democratic field, Mayor Wayne Messam of the small town of Miramar may shake up the 2020 presidential election.
BuzzFeed News reports the 44-year-old serves as the ceremonial mayor of a town of about 140,000. Amid gearing up for re-election, he may also launch a presidential campaign.
"The way I’ve been able to communicate with my peers across the country, and leadership positions that I’ve been fortunate enough to serve in on the national level. It’s sparked some inquiries like 'What’s next for you, mayor? We really see an opportunity for you to go even higher, and perhaps serve at a national level,’” Messam told BuzzFeed. “I’m just taking those comments and those urgings to really push and to seriously consider the prospects of perhaps running for president.”
The eyes of political hopefuls have recently been on Florida due to former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. There've been whispers that the 39-year-old was eyeing the 2020 presidential race, particularly after a meeting with Barack Obama. With the former Tallahassee mayor taking on a new role at CNN, such a run may not happen.
Messam formerly served as a campaign surrogate for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and supported Gillum early on in his bid for governor. According to The Sun-Sentinel, Messam is the owner of a construction firm based in South Florida. He is the son of a Jamaican sugar cane worker and the first Black man elected as mayor of Miramar.
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Throughout his political career, Messam was the president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. Speculation around his possible bid piqued when the former Gillum advisers began to work with him.
BuzzFeed reports Brice Barnes, who served as Gillum's first finance director, is advising Messam on fundraising strategies. There is also interest from former finance director Akilah Ensley and Phillip Thompson.
Small-dollar fundraising will be key to a Messam campaign. Smaller donations proved helpful to Gillum, and Ensley belives Messam can use the same fundraising method to pull off a bid.
“I truly do believe that anything is possible,” she told the Miami Herald. “We live in the age of Trump.”
BuzzFeed News also confirmed that Messam met with political operatives from South Carolina during the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., in January. All signs point to Messam launching a campaign despite no official word from his camp.
With Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) vying for the Black vote, Messam believes he can attract different types of Black voters to set himself apart, especially those from rural areas. He feels his background is better suited to appeal to them. Looking at the candidacy of Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, Messam sees a pathway to scoring airtime and entering the national media spotlight.
Messam is expected to win re-election easily. We all have to wait and see what happens to the mayor with big dreams to live in the White House.
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