Florida Politics

Gov. Scott adds House race to Miami special election

Rep. Jose Diaz, R-Miami, addresses the House of Representatives and his sons on his final day in the House on May 8.
Rep. Jose Diaz, R-Miami, addresses the House of Representatives and his sons on his final day in the House on May 8. AP

Gov. Rick Scott added a second race Monday to a special Miami legislative election planned for this summer, after a Florida House member resigned to run for the Senate.

The contest to replace state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz will take place at the same time as the already-scheduled election to replace state Sen. Frank Artiles. That’s a special primary July 25 and a special general election Sept. 26.

Diaz resigned Thursday to run for Artiles’ seat, as required by state law. His resignation is effective Sept. 26, Election Day.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Florida’s elections chief, will now have to schedule a deadline for House District 116 candidates to qualify for the ballot. The deadline for Senate District 40 candidates is May 30-31.

Diaz’s House district overlaps in part with Artiles’ former Senate district in Southwest Miami-Dade County. Artiles resigned last month after insulting two fellow senators in Tallahassee. Both Diaz and Artiles are Republicans.

In addition to Diaz, two other Republicans have filed for Artiles’ competitive seat: former Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck. The Democratic candidates so far are former Rep. Ana Rivas Logan and businesswoman Annette Taddeo.

Two Republicans, Jose Mallea and Daniel Anthony Perez, had filed to run for Diaz’s Republican-leaning seat in 2018. Mallea, a brewery owner who has worked for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, said Monday he will switch his candidacy to run in this summer’s special election.

“I’m walking the district already,” Mallea said.

Perez could not be reached for comment.

Would-be contenders had plenty of notice that Diaz didn’t plan to complete his term: He gave a farewell speech on the House floor earlier this month, expecting he’d either run for Senate or be appointed Miami U.S. attorney.

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