Voters in Florida House District 112 have a distinct choice in filling this open seat. Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez, 34, a first-time candidate, is running against longtime Republican Alex Diaz de la Portilla, 48, member of a well-known political family and a veteran legislator currently out of office.
Mr. Diaz de la Portilla touts his experience and ability to get things done in Tallahassee, where he served in the House from 1994 to 2000 and in the Senate from 2000 to 2010, the last two years as majority leader before retiring due to term limits.
Mr. Diaz de la Portilla has shown that he can bring home the bacon — notably, leading a successful effort in 2008 to win $10 million to clean up the Miami River. Other times, however, he has been prone to play follow the leader, as when he voted for a controversial proposal to gut the class-size amendment, even though his district had crowded schoolrooms. “I follow the Republican Party line,” he told The Herald at the time.
This district has been significantly redrawn, losing Miami Beach but gaining Coconut Grove. It has more Democrats than before, though Republicans outnumber them. Still, if he’s elected, Mr. Diaz de la Portilla should serve all his constituents.
Mr. Rodriguez, a relative newcomer to this district, has good ideas — a comprehensive review of sales-tax exemptions, for example — but he needs more seasoning. Mr. Diaz de la Portilla has the edge on the basis of experience and his familiarity with an area in which he has long lived. For state representative, District 112, The Miami Herald recommends ALEX DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA.