The growing field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the Congressional District 27 seat currently held by retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen grew even more crowded Wednesday.
Mary Barzee Flores, a former Miami-Dade circuit judge and South Florida attorney, announced her intentions to run for the congressional seat.
“I’m running for Congress because I believe our politics and our politicians have gotten too small and the challenges we face are too big,” Barzee Flores said in a statement. “I refuse to sit back and watch as tens of millions of Americans lose their health care, our public schools fall into ruin, our environment is ravaged, our heroes are neglected and disrespected, and our children’s futures are squandered away by stupidity and greed.”
Barzee Flores spent 14 years as a U.S. public defender working in the Southern District of Florida. In 2002, she was elected to the bench in Miami-Dade where she served for eight years.
In 2015, she was nominated by then-President Barack Obama for a federal judgeship. Her nomination was blocked by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
She has been in private practice since 2011.
A Miami native, Barzee Flores is the sixth Democrat to enter the race. She joins state Rep. David Richardson, state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, University of Miami academic adviser Michael Hepburn and Mark Anthony Person.
On the Republican side, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, educator Maria Peiro and former Miami Dade County School Board Member Raquel Regaldo have announced they will seek the GOP nomination.
Ros-Lehtinen announced earlier this year she will not seek reelection in 2018.
Democrats consider the seat as a possible pickup for them in the House next year and are focusing their efforts on the race.
Voter registration in the district favors Democrats. While Ros-Lehtinen won reelection last November, Hillary Clinton won the district by 20 points in last year’s presidential race.