Why This Florida Mayor Thinks He Has A Real Shot At The Presidency (HBO)

This is a city of around 140,000 people nestled between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. On Tuesday, the city held municipal elections — incumbent mayor Wayne Messam, a Democrat, cruised to a second term. Votes cast totaled around 6,795, and as expected Messam won around 86% of them.

Messam is a first generation American a former Florida State University wide receiver. He almost went to the NFL but he didn’t make the cut. So he came home and started a successful construction business. At 44, he’s Miramar’s first black mayor. He celebrated his second term with a 4-mile run in the early morning hours of Wednesday with his regular running group.

A few hours later, he filed the necessary paperwork to launch an exploratory committee to pursue becoming the next president of the United States.

It’s crazy, but it’s not that crazy. Messam’s team sees a pathway for a young, black progressive southerner after the surprising rise of candidates like Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia. South Carolina is the third stop on the Democratic nomination calendar, and Messam supporters say a strong early showing could make him a contender there.

But there’s not much time. The first Democratic primary debate is in June, and to make the stage candidates need to create a grassroots fundraising army or start showing results in national polls. Messam starts both efforts from basically zero. But he says he’s making this run for all the right reasons.

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