The results of Tuesday’s special election in Miami-Dade brings two new faces to the Florida Legislature — and reveals a hairline crack in the Republican stronghold on Tallahassee.
The battle for the state Senate seat in District 40 was handily won by Democrat Annette Taddeo, a perennial candidate who pulled off an impressive victory over State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, a popular Republican who many thought had the edge in the race.
Although the Editorial Board favored Diaz for his experience as a State Representative and endorsed him, we congratulate Taddeo and welcome her to the state’s political arena.
But Taddeo’s victory was more than just a win for Florida Democrats.
Diaz, a former “The Apprentice” contestant whose ties to President Trump were often featured by Taddeo, out-spent her by nearly a million dollars, yet Taddeo won by the margin of 51 percent to 47 percent.
Needless to say, Florida Democrats are thrilled.
In a release sent after the race,they could not contain their joy: “The bottom line is Democrats are WINNING in places once thought impossible” — a clear jab at one of President Trump’s favorite mantras.
Democrats smell blood in the water. Nationwide, they have significant races upcoming in Virginia, New Jersey, and Washington state.
So is this Florida victory an aberration or the beginning of a trend? We’ll have to wait and see. Regardless, the Taddeo victory is a confidence-builder for the party.
Also winning Tuesday and joining Taddeo as a novice in Tallahassee is Republican Daniel Anthony Perez, 30, a first-time candidate who handily won the State Representative race in District 116, defeating Gabriela Mayaudon.
Perez will take over the seat Diaz left when he decided to run for the state Senate.
The political musical chairs began when former State Sen. Frank Artiles was forced to resign after insulting black colleagues in the legislature last year.
And also this week, a controversial Miami Beach commissioner announced Monday that he’s calling it quits — for now. In July, he gave up his mayor bid.
Ending his re-election campaign is Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco. He is undergoing a criminal inquiry over his ties to a political committee that raised $200,000 in campaign cash from a group of moneyed Beach interests — city vendors, developers and lobbyists — all in possible violation of campaign finance laws. The Miami Herald exposed Grieco’s ties to the People for Better Leaders political committee.
WATCH VIDEO: Michael Grieco ends re-election bid
Grieco did not mention the investigation when he announced the suspension of his campaign and refused to answer questions.
In fact, when Herald reporter Joey Flechas — who exposed Grieco’s ties to the committee — approached the dais during a recess this week, Charles Tear, the city’s director of emergency management, stood in front of the reporter and said Grieco requested that no one be allowed to approach him the dais. A Miami Beach police officer then moved to stand directly in front of Grieco.
It’s another indication that Grieco doesn’t feel he has to answer to his constituents, much less reporters — and that he feels entitled, using a city-paid police officer to protect him while on the dais.
So goodbye to Grieco — and a warm welcome to Taddeo and Perez.