Desperate Florida Democrats Turn to 2 Former NBA Stars in Hopes of Regaining Power
Retired basketball player Dwyane Wade is at the top of some Florida Democratic operatives’ dream list of potential Senate candidates, according to NBC News.
The state’s Democratic party saw massive losses in 2022, with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis winning his reelection by 19 points, but operatives see an opportunity opening against Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott.
A retired professional athlete with name recognition and his own campaign funding could shake up state politics after Democrats’ losing streak, some party operatives told NBC News.
“Dwyane Wade is a Florida legend, whose leadership past and present has a lot of folks in our state sending feelers out,” Ray Paultre, executive director of the left-wing donor group Florida Alliance, told the outlet. “We have seen former athletes, in both parties, bring something special to the political landscape.
“He hasn’t been officially approached, but he is on the list of four or five dream candidates to challenge Rick Scott.”
Florida Democrats are sending @GovRonDeSantis and Florida Republicans a clear message that we are ready to fight for our rights. We #wontbackdown. #standunited pic.twitter.com/3iBIH0fGC7
— Florida Democrats (@FlaDems) May 7, 2023
“There are different groups talking to a diverse set of potential candidates — all of which would be great options,” he said. “I won’t speak to where each of those conversations are, but I can confirm that there are organized efforts to engage everyone you’ve mentioned.”
Wade, who played for the Miami Heat, recently drew attention for saying his family left Florida over the state’s restrictions on child gender transitions; Wade’s child has identified as transgender since age 12.
Democrats are also interested in Grant Hill, another former professional basketball player.
“Grant Hill has great name ID. He would raise a boatload of money and is one of the smartest guys you will ever meet,” John Morgan, a national Democratic donor who has spoken directly with Hill about his desire for him to run, told NBC.
“Grant Hill would beat the s*** out of Rick Scott.”
Another Florida Democratic operative spoke with the outlet anonymously and confirmed the effort to recruit Wade and other athletes to run for Senate.
“There’s a short list of retired athletes and business leaders who could fit that bill, and Dwyane Wade tops that list. There are definitely conversations underway about recruiting Wade or a retired athlete like him to challenge Scott,” he told the outlet.
The Florida Democratic Party did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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