Three candidates, one Democrat and two Republicans, are running to unseat incumbent US Rep. Frederica Wilson in the 24th Congressional District. The 79-year-old Democrat has been well-trenched in the district since she was elected in 2010.
District 24 encompasses much of northeast and north-central Miami-Dade County, including North Miami, Miami Gardens, parts of Miami Beach, Aventura and a slice of south-central Broward County.
Wilson is seeking her seventh term in Congress. Prior to her time in Congress, she served in the Florida Senate from 2003-10 and Florida House from 1998-2002.
Her Democratic opponent in the August 23 primary is Kevin Harris, a 36-year-old Miami-Dade police dispatcher. Harris said people are ready for a change, and they’re tired and frustrated of business as usual with the current representatives.
“I’m an outsider, I’m new to this game, so I don’t have the insider mentality,” Harris said. “I’m not part of the game. I have no one I feel like I owe anything to, so I’m unbought. I’m uncompromised.”
Harris has no political background, and this is his first run for public office. Harris was born in North Miami, and is an alumnus of FIU. Some key issues and policies Harris would address if elected are climate change, inflation and term limits on Supreme Court justices.
Harris has raised $20,891.22 and spent 17,970.00 as of Wednesday.
Wilson, whose bright and bedazzled cowboy hats and style are a signature part of the congresswoman’s image, was born in Miami and has held multiple positions as a lawmaker. Wilson said she is going to continue to address issues like reducing inflation, women’s rights to choose, LGBTQ+ rights and student loan debt.
“I run to continue delivering for families,” Wilson said. “I’ve always been powered by and for the people of my community, and it shows.”
Govt. Ron DeSantis’ redrawing of districts favoring Black candidates was vicious, Wilson said. There were four districts in Florida that were likely to elect Black candidates with the old congressional map, and now there’s just two, she said. Wilson said this hurts the delivery of projects and services to the African-American community.
Wilson has raised $413,896 and spent $219,625.07 as of Wednesday.
Two Republican candidates
In the Republican primary, Lavern Spicer is running against Jesus Navarro.
Spicer, a 56-year-old small business owner, said she is running to give a voice to the people. She said Wilson has only “gone through the motions” to make it look like she has done things in office.
“We don’t need them in the office acting like damn celebrities, forgetting about the constituents that voted for them,” Spicer said. “The reason why I believe I could win is because people are sick and tired of people that are going through the motions and acting like they’re helping people.”
Curley’s House Hope Relief food bank is one of Spicer’s small businesses. She started the program in 1999. The food bank is a community program, Spicer said, for those who are in need or are homeless. It also works with foster care agencies.
Spicer has no political background. She said some of the policy issues she would address if she were elected are supporting the police, small businesses and housing affordability.
“I can really care less about being a politician. What I want to be is a public servant that’s here to help people and address them with the help that they need,” Spicer said.
Spicer has raised $205,850.81 and spent $204,420.87 as of Wednesday.
Navarro, a 34-year-old employee with MobilityWorks, an equipment supplier in Miami Dade County, said the country is not headed in the right direction, and not enough people are stepping forward to change things.
Navarro is an alumnus of Nova Southeastern University, and has no political background. Navarro said his opponents are not fighting against issues that are happening now, like gas prices rising. If elected, he said he would address issues like high school and college graduation rates and median household income.
“I truly feel that we live in a better state than most. We truly are in a blessed state, because we are under great leadership,” Navarro said “We need to speak out against these things, because the country is not going in a good direction. It’s not OK, and it has to do a lot with Democratic leadership.”
Navarro is self-funding his campaign, he said.
Early voting for the primary begins Aug. 8 in Miami-Dade and Aug. 13 in Broward. The general election is Nov. 8.