Progressive Democrats were noticeably more active at yesterday's Leadership Blue Gala, and District 26 candidate Annette Taddeo was eager to attach herself to the party activists in attendance.
"I've always been one of the grassroots," Taddeo said. "What you are seeing is what you should see at the party meeting."
While the Democratic primary between Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz presents a clear clash of establishment and progressive interests, both Taddeo and Joe Garcia, her Democratic primary opponent, have deep ties to party elites.
Taddeo served as chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic party, ran for lieutenant governor with Charlie Crist in 2014 and has the blessing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which irked Garcia's allies in Congress. Garcia previously represented the 26th District in Congress and has the support of multiple sitting representatives.
Taddeo believes the newly redrawn 26th District, currently represented by Republican Carlos Curbelo, is ripe for the taking due to changing attitudes among young Cuban voters.
"Charlie and I were the first ones in the history of Florida to come out and say, 'You know what, the embargo hasn’t worked,'" Taddeo said. "We won the Cuban-American vote. More people than not agree with our point of view and the changes the president made after our election."
Taddeo emphasized the after in her remarks, hinting that if Barack Obama chose to lift the embargo sooner it could have played a role in the Florida gubernatorial race, which she and Crist ultimately lost.
National Democrats have identified Curbelo's seat as a prime opportunity for a pickup, and the race will be one of the most expensive in the country.