Miami Herald: Ex-Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre jumps into U.S. Senate race

Oct 8, 2009

The Miami Herald published this aticle on October 8, 2009

Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre announced that he’s running for the U.S. Senate, though he’ll have to catch up to candidates who have already raised millions of dollars.


Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre officially launched his upstart bid for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, banking on political experience and potential appeal in the fast-growing Hispanic community to overtake rivals with multimillion-dollar head starts.

The city’s longest-serving and first Hispanic mayor was known for his vision of downtown Miami as an international business hub with a soaring skyline. Chaotic City Hall politics, the Mariel boatlift and the Liberty City riots rocked his 12-year stint. “I have led during moments of turmoil before and I am ready to be the strong voice for Florida in Washington to pull us out of the crisis that we are living right now,” said Ferre, who has also served as a county commissioner, city commissioner and state lawmaker, in a written statement.

The 74-year-old Democrat lost his last three bids for county mayor, and it’s unclear how he will raise the resources to run a competitive statewide campaign. The leading Democratic candidate for the Senate seat, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, started campaigning in January and had raised $2.7 million as of June 30.

“There’s little doubt that Maurice has an uphill battle,” said Miami Democrat Roland Sanchez-Medina, president of the Cuban–American Bar Association. “I think most people will look at him as a spoiler, though if he’s able to start raising money quickly that could change.”

Political consultant Freddy Balsera, who advised Barack Obama’s presidential campaign on Hispanic issues and is helping Ferre, pointed to the estimated half a million Hispanic Democrats who make up one of the state’s most influential swing votes. “This primary is not locked up,” Balsera said. “It’s important to have a competitive process so that the strongest Democrat will be the nominee.”

The major Republican contenders for Florida’s open Senate seat in 2010 are Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami.