Former Dolphins wide receiver and federal Homeland Security agent Randal Hill will take on U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, in a Democratic primary.
Wilson has represented Congressional District 24 which spans Miami-Dade and Broward counties since 2010.
Hill played professional football between 1991 and 1997 for the Miami Dolphins, the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints. Before playing professionally, Hill played for the University of Miami including their championship team in 1989.
Hill told the Miami Herald in an interview today that he quit his job as an agent with Homeland Security on Friday to run for Congress. He filed his paperwork to run with the Federal Election Commission last week. (Here is his website but it doesn't have anything on it yet.)
Hill said he didn’t have any immediate criticism of Wilson's stances on issues but questioned what she had accomplished for the district.
“If you can tell me what she has done as a Congresswoman than I won’t run,” he said. “One of the first things she did do was she tried to pass a bill for Congressmen or women to wear hats in the House of Representatives. I don’t know how that is helping the community as a sitting politician.”
Wilson is famous for her massive collection of flamboyant hats. After she was first elected to Congress, she said: “The U.S. House rule barring members from wearing hats while in session dates back to the 1800s and can be waived by the speaker.”
PolitiFact Florida rated her claim Half True: the ban did start Sept. 14, 1837 to be precise but Wilson presented no proof that the House Speaker could simply waive the rule -- the House would have had to vote on it.
After retiring from football, Hill worked for the Sunrise Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office before he became an agent for U.S. Customs in 2003. The name was later changed to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).
Hill said he didn’t work on immigration cases.
“I did several disciplines: violent gangs, national security work and protected the homeland, I’ve gone into other countries covertly. I have done intellectual property rights, narcotics, and specialized for the past 7-8 years in financial crimes.”
In 2010, Hill was part of an ICE team that arrested people who peddled counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise as part of "Operation Faux Bowl" in South Florida, according to an AP article.
Hill has been a registered voter in Broward since 2003. Hill, 45, lives in Davie with his wife Michelle Hill who is an internal medicine doctor including for the Seminole tribe. Although Hill can tap into former football players for donations, Wilson will be a tough incumbent to challenge. He has hired Mainstreet Communications and doesn’t have a campaign manager yet.
Wilson, a former school principal, has long roots in Miami-Dade County. In 1992, she became a school board member and the next year founded the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, a program aimed at dropout prevention. She later became a state representative and was elected to Congress in 2010. Wilson has easily won re-election -- in November she won with 86 percent of the vote.
Wilson’s majority-minority district is home to a large number of Haitians and she has traveled to the country frequently. Wilson is known for her outspoken advocacy for the poor, Haitian-Americans and has spoken out against Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group in Nigeria. In May she sponsored a bill to require vaccinations for all school children unless they have a medical exemption.
Her voting record has been in line with President Barack Obama’s positions -- in 2014 she voted 92 percent of the time in support of his position.
See Wilson’s Truth-O-Meter record from PolitiFact Florida.
This blog will be updated when we hear back from Wilson’s campaign.