Miami-Dade County

Annette Taddeo hangs on to Florida Senate 40 seat, defeating Marili Cancio

Annette Taddeo handily retained her Florida Senate District 40 seat, edging out Republican challenger Mariana “Marili” Cancio in the midterm election on Nov. 6, 2018.
Annette Taddeo handily retained her Florida Senate District 40 seat, edging out Republican challenger Mariana “Marili” Cancio in the midterm election on Nov. 6, 2018. Miami Herald File

Annette Taddeo kept a Democratic hold on the Southwest Miami-Dade areas of Kendall, the Hammocks, Perrine and South Miami Heights — all represented by Florida Senate District 40.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Taddeo handily retained her seat with about 53 percent of the vote, edging out Republican opponent Mariana “Marili” Cancio.

cancio.JPG
Marili Cancio

In an emailed statement, Taddeo thanked her staff and supporters.

“A lot has changed since we won the special election last year,” she wrote. “The fight for common sense gun legislation will be a priority in our next session. I will continue to fight hard to keep our classrooms and our children safe.”

She also thanked Cancio. “This work isn’t easy, and we should appreciate everyone who wants to make a difference,” Taddeo wrote.

Taddeo, who had lost elections four times before, won in a special election last year after a Republican senator’s meltdown opened up the seat. It turned blue after her 2017 opponent Jose Felix Diaz’s cozy relationship with Donald Trump appeared to turn off voters.

Cancio, an attorney and frequent conservative commentator on Spanish-language media, took a different approach in this year’s race. In a district where Independents outnumber Republicans, Cancio billed herself as a centrist, courting voters with bipartisan talk and portraying Taddeo as ultra-partisan.

But Cancio was recruited and funded by Senate Republicans. During her campaign, she made her eight-year-old Twitter account that had several mentions of Trump, #MAGA and #alllivesmatter private, and instead opened a new, public account with no mention of any of those things.

Cancio did not immediately return requests for comment.

NRA support was a focal point of the race. Cancio said Taddeo sided with the NRA and against grieving families when she voted against the omnibus Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, which included modest gun control measures as well as provisions to arm school staff and mental health funding. Cancio even included a thank you letter sent from NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer to Taddeo for voting against gun control legislation on a political mailer.

Taddeo countered that Cancio is the one who sides with the NRA’s position to arm school staff, which Taddeo called the “poison pill” in the legislation she voted against.

Taddeo outraised and outspent Cancio, raising nearly half a million dollars in monetary contributions. However, Cancio’s in-kind contributions, worth around $321,000, nearly matched her monetary contributions of about $355,000.

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Contact Colleen Wright at 305-376-3003 and @Colleen_Wright.
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