Former state lawmaker and Miami-Dade School Board member Ana Rivas Logan is officially running for state Senate.
The Republican-turned-Democrat filed her paperwork Wednesday to seek the District 40 seat — which current state Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, and state Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, are also vying for.
“The stakes are too high to stay on the sidelines in this race, which is why I’ve decided to embark on a continued journey of public service,” Rivas Logan said in a statement Wednesday. “My community has encouraged me to be their voice in Tallahassee and I am ready to campaign hard to earn the support of voters in August and November.”
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Jumping in the District 40 race gives Miami-Dade Democrats an alternative contender to take on Artiles in November, but it also divides the party because Bullard is seeking re-election.
Bullard, a high school teacher, served in the House from 2008 to 2012, before winning his seat in the Senate — which was previously held by his mother, longtime legislator Larcenia Bullard.
Dwight Bullard said Wednesday that Rivas Logan’s candidacy doesn’t change anything for his campaign and he “looks forward to the competition.”
Bullard said last week that he hoped she wouldn’t challenge him.
“Anyone else is entitled to throw her hat in the race, but I just think to be fully transparent: To leave a well-funded Republican with nothing to do while two Democrats go toe-to-toe all summer puts undue pressure on a Democratic establishment that’s already strained,” Bullard said Friday, referencing other contentious state Senate races in Miami-Dade County that the party hopes to win.
District 40 includes parts of central Miami-Dade County. It’s heavily Hispanic and favors a Democrat. Almost 55 percent of the district voted for Barack Obama in 2012.
While Bullard has the advantage of being an incumbent senator, he’s viewed as potentially vulnerable because he hadn’t raised a lot of money this spring to fend off Artiles. Heading in to May, Artiles had $238,000 in cash on hand, while Bullard had less than $22,000.
Bullard said he wasn’t concerned, because summertime is normally when state legislative campaigns ramp up. He also pointed to endorsements he’s already gotten from major unions, political advocacy groups and elected officials.
Rivas Logan said a month ago she wouldn’t take lightly running against Bullard. But “I’m so strongly opposed to Trump Republicans, that it just turns my stomach,” she said.
“Trump Republican” is how she described Artiles, who’s forgoing a re-election bid in the House for a chance at the Senate.
Rivas Logan, a Republican lawmaker from 2010 to 2012, publicly disavowed the Republican Party in 2014 and switched to being a Democrat.
Bullard said Wednesday the message for his campaign won’t change because “former Representative Rivas Logan has to run on her previous record which is, by and large, the same as Representative Artiles, because they were in the same party.”
Rivas Logan has continued to be active in community issues in Miami-Dade County since leaving public office four years ago, particularly on education issues. Before being elected to the House, she was a Miami-Dade School Board member from 2004 to 2010.
She lost her House seat in 2012 after redistricting drew her into the same district as Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz.
“Miami-Dade families have experienced enough pain from Tallahassee Republicans who continue to shortchange our school system, politicize immigration reform and turn their backs on women’s healthcare choices,” Rivas Logan said. “I am proud to announce my campaign because we need a state Senate ready to advance legislation and programs that make our community and state a stronger place for all.”