U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson won the congressional seat representing parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties vacated by Kendrick Meek in 2010, beating out eight other candidates in the Democratic primary -- but Dr. Rudy Moise, who placed second in that primary, has more in the bank as he heads toward a rematch in August.
Wilson, who garnered national attention for demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman and labeling the shooting of Trayvon Martin as murder, as well as for her collection of colorful hats, is a political veteran. First elected to the Florida House in 1998, she served two terms before winning a seat in the Senate in 2002. Wilson served in the Democratic leadership in both chambers, serving as a party whip in the House and Senate and as Democratic leader pro tempore in the upper chamber.
When Meek left the congressional seat to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Wilson defeated eight other candidates to win the Democratic nomination, taking 35 percent in the crowded primary. Moise placed second with 16 percent. Wilson then went on to crush Roderick Vereen --who was running with no party affiliation -- taking 86 percent of the vote in the general election. While she worked on education issues in Tallahassee, even rising to vice chair of the Education Pre-K-12 Committee in the Senate, Wilson has been assigned to the Committee on Foreign Affairsand the Committee on Science, Space and Technology in Congress.
As she battles in CD 24 for a second term in Congress, Wilson has relied heavily on PAC money. While she has raised almost $399,000 for her re-election bid, $267,750 of that has come from PACs. With the primary looming on Aug. 14, Wilson had more than $156,000 in the bank at the end of June.
Moises camp insists that their candidate did not do well in the 2010 primary as the Caribbean-American vote was divided among various Democratic hopefuls while African-Americans backed Wilson. With a one-on-one match-up against Wilson this time out, Moise hopes to unite those voters behind him.
With a resume that includes stints as an attorney, a physician, a movie actor, radio station owner and a colonel in the Air Force Reserve, Moise looks to apply his experiences to Congress. At the end of June, Moise had more in the bank than Wilson had on hand. Throwing in $102,000 of his own, Moise raised more than $287,000 from individuals and has not relied on PAC money.
However, Moise outraised and outspent Wilson back in 2010 and was not able to catch the veteran Democratic politician in the primary. With the new district containing many of the same parts of Broward and Miami-Dade County that backed Wilson in 2010, Moise is an underdog -- but one with a punchers chance -- to knock off the incumbent in the primary. Whoever emerges with the Democratic nomination will not face any opposition in November.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.