Alas, Daisy Baez could have broken the curse. But no. Every state representative that the weary residents of House District 114 have elected has been brought down by ethical lapses. Baez is only the latest.
Baez, a Democrat, never moved into the district as mandated by law, then lied about it on her voter’s registration.
She resigned, and there will be a special election in May to replace her.
Tuesday, however, two Republicans are vying for the chance in a primary.
Jose Pazos, 42, a U.S. Marine and combat veteran runs a condo association management business; he’s running against Andrew Vargas, 35, an insurance attorney.
They want to represent the district, which includes moderate income municipalities like Flagami and West Miami and better-heeled areas like Coral Gables, Pinecrest and Cutler Bay.
The winner will face the Democratic and independent candidates in the May 1 special election.
If not on issues, the candidates differ in style.
Pazos, running for the second time, is a grassroots contender who calls himself “a regular Joe”; the better financed Vargas is a Belen Jesuit Prep graduate, who is running for the first time because he wants to serve the district and “better protect taxpayers money.”
Pazos says he wants to help the struggling elderly Cuban exile residents of Flagami, who he says have paid off their homes, but can’t pay their yearly property taxes.
Both candidates agree traffic congestion is the overriding concern in the southern end of the district, where residents spend countless hours commuting to and from work.
But where Pazos speaks knowledgeably about the county’s SMART Plan and of being a donor county when it comes to funding, Vargas spoke only in generalities.
Both favor school vouchers. Pazos is a strong believer in climate change and the impact sea-level rise will have on South Florida — as is Vargas.
And both men agree that the high number of independent voters in their district will decide the race. “One-third of the voters are independent and we have to message them with our vision for the district,” Vargas said. Another wrinkle is that voting precincts in Flagami and West Miami where not open for early voting, prompting Pazos to complain to the Miami-Dade Elections Department, which says those precincts will open for the general election.
Pazos has one advantage over Vargas: passion. Pazos also brings knowledge of state politics to the table.
While Vargas is a credible candidate, he speaks in too many generalities.
The Herald recommends JOSE PAZOS in the Republican primary for House District 114.