Possible contenders arise after Ros-Lehtinen announces retirement

MIAMI (WSVN) - With Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announcing her decision not to seek reelection in 2018, her seat is now open to be claimed by candidates from either party.

Ros-Lehtinen was elected to the seat after the death of Democratic liberal icon Claude Pepper in 1989. Now, nearly 30 years later, she announced that she will retire, leaving democrats hopeful at the prospect of regaining District 27.

Democrat Scott Fuhrman challenged Ros-Lehtinen in 2016. However, he lost by just 10 points in the district that was redrawn and went for Hillary Clinton.

Despite his loss, Fuhrman said he will try again in 2018, and released a statement which read in part, “With her retirement announcement today, I will continue my campaign for the 27th Congressional District so we can elect a strong Democratic member to the U.S. House to take on Donald Trump and this dysfunctional Republican Congress.”

A look at Florida’s Department of State candidate listing for 2018 also showed three other democrats, outside of Fuhrman, who may be gunning for the seat.

The three include Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who currently serves as a Miami Beach commissioner; Michael A. Hepburn, the senior academic advisor for the University of Miami’s School of Business and Mark Anthony Person.

Hepburn has already set up a Facebook page for his campaign.

On the Republican side, there’s sure to be stiff competition. The Miami Herald reported an abundance of possible contenders, including Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez Cantera, who may be at the top of the list.

Several other potential candidates are Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, Florida Representative Jose Felix Diaz and term-limited State Senator Rene Garcia.

Republicans who had been unwilling to run against Ros-Lehtinen could also see an opening to run.

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