The summertime primary race to fill the District 40 seat made vacant after State Sen. Frank Artiles’ racist, sexist meltdown led to his resignation has proved to be a boisterous one. The primary election will be held on July 25, with early voting beginning on July 15.
Three Cuban Americans are vying to represent a swath of Southwest Miami-Dade. Former Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and attorney Lorenzo Palomares are the two most serious candidates here. Former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla is a non-starter. He refused to be interviewed by the Editorial Board. The Herald reported that he had been arrested in Boston in 2012 after he was asked to stop smoking in a hotel room. Diaz de la Portilla dismissed the misdemeanor arrest as a “civil citation for smoking.”
Diaz, 37, a government law attorney is an experienced legislator. In an unusual twist, a Miami-Dade man issued a death threat against Diaz, who reported him to the police. The man was arrested. Diaz wants to ensure the man gets help — his family says he is mentally ill. But Palomares downplayed the threat, telling the board the issue “could have been handled by the Republican Party” and offered to defend the man.
The candidates agree on many issues affecting the district, traffic chief among them. Palomares is a staunch believer in free enterprise and its ability to improve Floridians’ quality of life. But Diaz has a more practical outlook, along with solid legislative experience. For instance, he sponsored bills to give immigrant children medical coverage through KidCare and cosponsored successful legislation creating a tax exemption for homes with solar panels.
Diaz is the strongest candidate. In the District 40 Republican primary, the Herald recommends JOSE FELIX DIAZ.
Rivas Logan successfully ran for the Miami-Dade School Board and the Florida House, losing when district boundary changes threw her into a race with Jose Felix Diaz. In recent years, she switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, she says, because the GOP did not represent her values.
Meanwhile, Taddeo has lost four elections over the past eight years: a bid for Congress in 2008, for Miami-Dade Commission in 2010, as Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial running mate in 2014, and to Joe Garcia in a Democratic congressional primary in 2016.
Still, she remains the stronger candidate here. She has been chair of the Democratic Party of Miami-Dade, vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party and committeewoman for the DNC. While both candidates know the district well, Taddeo is better versed in overall state issues, which is important.
She knows policy and, unlike Rivas Logan, her commitment to the Democratic Party is clear.
Taddeo, who was born in Colombia to a Colombian mother and an American father, runs a translation business. Rivas Logan, the Nicaragua-born daughter of exiled Cuban immigrants, has been an educator for 30 years.
Both are campaigning on education, traffic and other pertinent issues. Taddeo, however, gave more thoughtful, better developed responses to the Herald’s questionnaire, as opposed to Rivas Logan’s one-liners.
Taddeo has earned this chance to serve. In the District 40 Democratic primary, the Herald recommends ANNETTE TADDEO.