Politics

Democrats Recruit Ros-Lehtinen Challenger

First-time candidate is open about his colorful past

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen didn't have a Democratic challenger in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In an effort to expand the playing field, national Democrats have recruited a candidate to challenge Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida's 27th District, who didn't have a Democratic challenger in 2014.  

Scott Fuhrman, a third-generation fruit-juice bottler, will announce his candidacy in a web video Friday, according to The Miami Herald .   

Fuhrman wasn't always affiliated with a party, which could be advantageous in a district currently represented by a popular, moderate Republican. He intends to kick $250,000 of his own money into the campaign.  

But Fuhrman has had several run-ins with the law, which he's open about in his announcement video.  

"I want you to vote for me, but I want you to know who I am and who I was," he says in the video. "When I was younger I made some bad decisions. I drove too fast, I raced cars, and I broke the law. I put myself and other people at risk."  

Fuhrman says that transparency makes him different from many politicians.   

[ Ros-Lehtinen: Cold War ‘Not Over’ in Cuba ]  

Florida's 27th District is home to a large Hispanic community. President Barack Obama carried it by 7 points in 2012.   

But Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba and has said she will not back Donald Trump as her party's nominee, is well-liked in the district. She's been in Congress since 1989 and was the first Hispanic woman and first Cuban-American elected to Congress.  

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the seat Safe Republican

Contact Pathé at  simonepathe@rollcall.com  and follow her on Twitter at  @sfpathe .

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