Pam Keith entered her first-ever race as a Florida candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2016. She was green back then but even so, the Miami Herald endorsed Keith, noting that “This long-shot candidate brings one of the freshest perspectives to Florida politics heard in a long time. She is accomplished, credible—and has been left out in the cold by state Democratic leaders and her two better-known opponents. And that, too, is a shame for democracy.“
In talking with her, I also recognized that shame: Pam Keith is very tough, has a penetrating intelligence, and can demonstrate knowledge on every important issue. She is a strong progressive and also has an impressive background: She’s an attorney with an emphasis on labor, civil rights, and business law, who once served in the U.S. Navy as a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer. She has lived on multiple continents, due to her father being a U.S. ambassador. She supported the mission to oversee Saddam Hussein’s compliance with sanctions and weapons inspections, and she was the first-ever JAG assigned to the Computer Network Security Task Force. Just four years ago, Keith also made history as the first black woman to ever run for a U.S. Senate seat in Florida.
Yet in 2016, Keith struggled to get funding, was given no support by local Democrats in favor of her primary opponent Patrick Murphy, and was ignored by most polls. The polls that did track her reported single-digit support. However, Pam criss-crossed the state and was able to amass a cadre of volunteers. She surprised everyone when she beat expectations with 15% of the 2016 primary vote.