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Miami Democrats get personal in crowded Congressional primary


Two Democrats running in a crowded primary race to replace Miami Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are laying out details of their personal lives in hopes of resonating with voters.

State Rep. David Richardson on Tuesday released a campaign commercial that touches on his status as Florida's first ever openly gay legislator, his upbringing and his mother's abortion as a teenager. The digital ad, backed by a purchase of more than $10,000, seeks to introduce the self-described progressive Democrat to voters and promote his fight to crack down on abuses by private prison operators.

"I remember stories from my mother, about how she chose to get an abortion when she was a teenager," Richardson says in the video. "And she had to go to a dark scary place to have that done. I never want a woman to have to go through that again. I will never stop fighting for a woman's right to make her own decisions."

Richardson, who is an independently wealthy forensic accountant, also talks about growing up in a family "living paycheck to paycheck," and about being elected Florida's first openly gay state lawmaker in 2012. Richardson explains that his experiences have shaped his life and his politics:

"I'm not afraid to talk about this stuff out loud, and I'm not going to be afraid to talk about it when I get to Washington D.C."

Also Tuesday, former judge Mary Barzee Flores released her own digital ad, which a campaign spokesman said was part of a "modest placement." The ad explains how Barzee Flores' position on healthcare is influenced by her own family history, and why she believes that "healthcare should not be a privelege for the rich."

"My parents came to Miami looking for a better life. My dad was a Navy veteran who managed a fish and tackle shop. But when he got sick he lost his job, and when he lost his job he lost his healthcare. And my family went from solidly middle class to poor almost overnight," she says, explaining that she had to wash dishes at night at a Pizza Hut to help pay the bills.

"That's why we need to stop the Republicans' attack on healthcare and on women's health, and start working toward healthcare that is truly universal."