Miami politics went into overdrive Friday following state Sen. Frank Artiles’ resignation, as elected officials and their political consultants scrambled to figure out who might run in a yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace the freshman Miami Republican.
Political insiders in Miami and Tallahassee began whispering about Artiles’ potential successor even before he stepped down. District 40 in Southwest Miami-Dade County is a competitive, Democratic-leaning and overwhelmingly Hispanic seat.
Here’s what potential candidates had to say Friday.
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Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck (R): “I will be announcing my campaign.”
State Rep. Robert Asencio (D): “I ran for office because we deserve better. I want to make sure that the best person gets elected to that seat, and whereas I will consider it, I need to be very realistic and ask myself, ‘Do I think I am the right person for that seat?’ ”
Former state Sen. Dwight Bullard (D): “I have a lot of folks that were supporters that would like to see me back in the Legislature, but at the same time you have a lot of considerations. I’m a pragmatist in the sense that sometimes you need new energy, new ideas.”
State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R)
Former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla (R): “In light of today’s resignation, I am considering running for the Senate seat.”
Marisel Losa (D), president and chief executive of the Health Council of South Florida
Raul Martinez Jr. (D): “My priority is providing for my family and do what’s best for them. My kids are young; I want to spend time with them. I don’t know. It sounds like a good opportunity. I think this is a Democratic seat. I live in the district. Call it a maybe. No decision.”
State Rep. Jeanette Nuñez (R): “I’m focusing on finishing out the next few weeks of session and doing the job my constituents elected me to do. There will be plenty of time to make decisions afterwards on political scenarios that may or may not pan out.”
Former state Rep. Ana Rivas Logan (D): “My phone’s been ringing off the hook. I need to see the timeline. The job that pays my bills is the school. ... I retire this October, so I was going to, you know, make a move next year. But if things happen quicker, they happen quicker. It all depends on that timeline.”
Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera (R)
Annette Taddeo (D): “I am getting lots of calls, but I will tell you that I believe that after the disrespect that especially the African-American community has gotten in this whole incident, I think they should have a say more than anybody as to who should be the person that the Democrats put up.”
Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Juan C. Zapata (R): “My phone has been pretty hectic this morning. I’ll think about it. It’s an area that I know very well, that I’ve represented in both the Legislature and in the County Commission. I’ve always lived in that district. I’m interested. I’ll take a look at it. We’ll see how things shake out.”
Andrew Korge (D): “No. My focus right now is on my family, my career and serving my community in other ways. While I won’t be running, I look forward to supporting a Democrat who can actually win and deliver for our community.”
Former state Rep. Erik Fresen (R): (Responding to the question, “Do you have any interest?”) “Zero.”
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D): “I’m going to continue to be politically active and speak truth to power and bring issues to light so that people are informed, but right now, I’m not thinking about that seat at all.”
State Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R): “Nope. I’ll be a retired politician in 12 months.”
Herald/Times staff writer Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.