Miami-Dade County

Gov. Scott sets special election to replace Artiles

State Sen. Frank Artiles before resigning from the Legislature.
State Sen. Frank Artiles before resigning from the Legislature.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has picked the dates for a special election to replace Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles.

MORE: Read the governor’s executive order

The special primary will take place July 25, followed by a special general election Sept. 26, according to an executive order the governor signed Monday.

Artiles resigned last month after he unleashed a tirade of racist and sexist remarks to two African-American senators. He represented Senate District 40, a competitive seat in Southwest Miami-Dade County.

Three candidates have filed to run so far: state Rep. Daisy Baez of Coral Gables, a Democrat; former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a Republican, and Mario Jimenez, an independent, according to state election records. Because they filed before a special election had been scheduled, all are still technically listed as 2018 contenders.

Baez would have to resign her House of Representatives seat in order to run for the Senate. That would require an additional special election, which the governor could choose to schedule at the same time as the election to replace Artiles. The same is true if another potential Republican candidate, state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz of Miami, also jumps into the race.

In a sign Florida Democrats are coalescing around Baez, she received the backing Monday of not one but two contenders for Florida governor.

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum endorsed Baez in a 24-minute span about two hours after Scott’s executive order was published.

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