Meet the Candidates 2020: Wayne Messam

Who is Wayne Messam? Your life probably won’t be measurably different if you never find out, but just for shits and giggles lets give this thing a go.  

Screen Shot 2019-10-21 at 5.16.50 PM.png

Messam is one of the lowest polling and least-known Democratic candidates for president and the mayor of Miramar, Florida, a place that sounds Floridian enough but, let’s be honest, neither of us knows where on the map it is. He declared his candidacy in March of 2019 and by June...The Des Moines Register couldn’t find a single person in Iowa who was actually supporting him. He seems to be vaguely running on an “outsider knows best” platform, but it’s actually pretty hard to figure out his messaging strategy because nobody besides a few running groups have seen or heard from him on the trail.

Like a handful of other presidential hopefuls, Messam’s only executive experience is as a mayor. That said, the mayorship in Miramar is actually more of a “city manager” position appointed by the city council so he doesn’t even really have executive experience as much as “working with various city players” experience. He started his career at the city commission level, winning his first race by just 33 votes, and became mayor in 2015, beating a 16 year incumbent. He’s Miramar’s first black mayor, and he’s incredibly popular in his hometown - he got reelected in 2019 with 86% of the vote. As mayor, Messam has made gun reform and bringing jobs to town his main priorities. Before his campaign launch (and possibly also since), he’s been best known for being part of a team of Florida elected officials that sued to change a 2011 state law that limits local governments’ ability to regulate firearms.

Messam has a host of the same vague Democratic priorities as the other contenders, including expanding gun reform, protecting a woman’s right to choose, expanding healthcare access without eliminating private insurance (blargh), dealing with climate change, providing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, and erasing student debt. He also has tried on his Liz Warren shoes by calling to eliminate the filibuster and the electoral college. Gun control is really his calling card, but his proposals are pretty milquetoast, and are mostly things like empowering law enforcement officials to ban weapons access to the mentally ill, people on national security watch lists, and those with records of domestic abuse.

Messam hasn’t qualified for any of the Democratic debates, nor has he appeared at any televised townhalls. He’s mostly running via inspirational sometimes Christian-themed instagram posts and being that guy people can’t remember when they try to list all the candidates. That said, good luck Wayne! Fingers crossed you find a voter in Iowa somewhere!