Miami Commissioner Ken Russell aims to challenge Rubio for U.S. Senate

The Democrat would be an underdog in terms of statewide recognition and fundraising but says he can deliver results as he files to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

MIAMI – Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell has set a lofty next political goal: U.S. Senate.

The District 2 Democrat has filed to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022.

Russell has a short political history for a Senate run, having been elected to the city commission in 2015. He has championed environmental issues after doing business selling watersports equipment.

“Going from surfboard salesman, commissioner, and now this, some would think is a crazy jump. And I don’t blame them for that,” Russell said, sitting down with Local 10 News’ Glenna Milberg on Thursday morning to announce his plans.

“But for me, if I can be of service at this level, I want to be as effective as possible.”

Russell might first need to defeat state Rep. Val Demings in a Democratic primary, as the high-profile former Orlando police chief has also signaled a run.

Russell made a brief run for Congress in 2018 but decided to keep his seat at City Hall. He would eventually need to resign his commission seat to run for Senate, but not until effectively January 2023.

While he may not have the statewide name recognition or funding as his competitors, Russell said he plans to connect with voters over their wants and needs.

“People want results, they don’t want the food fight. They’re over the food fight,” he said. “The things [voters] are fighting for and asking for are the things I’m working on. Because I’m really just a neighbor.”

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About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."