Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) first emerged as a political candidate in the 2018 midterm election, losing to Florida Rep. Donna Shalala (D). In a rematch, Rep. Elvira Salazar then won the congressional race against Shalala in 2020. Since then, she has remained a vocal supporter of President Trump while also advocating to address concerns at the Southern border, which has attracted critics from both aisles of the political landscape. In the upcoming 2022 midterm election, the Florida Republican now faces Republican and Democratic opponents as Commissioner Ken Russell has entered the race to unseat Elvira Salazar.
Taking to Twitter to announce his candidacy, Russell initially launched a Senatorial campaign to challenge Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R). However, Florida Rep. Val Demings (D) has emerged as the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, and Russell posted a video on social media acknowledging the indication.
In the video, Russell commented that the Florida Democrat “has a better chance of winning this race than I do right now” adding that “by infighting in the party it only hurts all of us as a party and this country.”
Instead, Russell shared that “we need unity.”
This is the right move for #unity. I'm running for Congress. https://t.co/kReZPgC8H3 pic.twitter.com/yGKmPSgvpo
— Ken Russell (@kenforflorida) May 1, 2022
In stepping out of the Senatorial race, Russell said that he would be heading into a race “I know I can win,” which would be against Rep. Elvira Salazar.
Calling it “the only flappable seat that we know we should be going after.”
Rep. Elvira Salazar has not responded to Russell’s candidacy, but the Elvira Salazar campaign did post what is considered her best fundraising quarter since she assumed office. Between New Year’s day and March 31st, Elvira Salazar amounted $690,000 in fundraising.
Aside from Russell, Elvira Salazar faces Frank Polo Sr. in the Republican primary while also facing Ian Anthony Medina, a no-party affiliation candidate.