Naked Politics

Doral Rep. Ana Maria Rodríguez enters crowded race for state Senate seat

Ana Maria Rodríguez
Ana Maria Rodríguez

State Rep. Ana Maria Rodríguez announced her run for state Senate Thursday, saying in a statement that she was “humbled and honored to announce my candidacy.”

“My family and I are ready to embark on what we know will be a hard-fought race, and we believe our message will resonate with residents of SD 39,” she said.

The Doral Republican is running in the heavily contested race to replace Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, who will be termed out of office next year. Republicans Angie Chirino, a singer and former congressional candidate, and attorney Alexandria Suarez have both entered the race, as has Democratic Pinecrest Vice Mayor Anna Hochkammer, who leads the pack in fundraising.

Rodríguez is a political veteran, having served as the vice mayor of Doral and a two-term city councilor before running for the state house. She was elected to the Legislature in 2018.

A child of Cuban immigrants, Rodríguez has lived in South Florida all her life. Before she got her start in politics, she worked as a lobbyist for the Miami Association of Realtors and Baptist Health South Florida.

Some of her biggest accomplishments in local government included granting Doral city employees paid parental leave and widening roads to reduce traffic. In Tallahassee, she was tapped by House leaders to carry one of several priority healthcare bills, which was signed into law last month.

She has raised more than $50,000 for her Senate run as of June 25, with major donors including Publix, the Miami-Dade County Republican Party and well-connected state government lobbyist Ron Book (father of Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat). Hochkammer has raised more than $126,000 in her attempt to flip SD 39, which covers Monroe County and part of Miami-Dade County.

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In a statement Thursday, Hochkammer called out Rodríguez’s voting record in Tallahassee, which included votes to pass a bill allowing teachers to be armed and a bill to ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida.

“I believe in arming teachers with better salaries and our children with an inspiring future that makes them proud to learn and work hard,” Hochkammer wrote. “As a former teacher, and mom of three amazing daughters, I am ready and energized for the journey ahead, and welcome my opponent to the race.”

Herald/Times staff writer Elizabeth Koh contributed from Tallahassee.

Samantha J. Gross is a politics and policy reporter for the Miami Herald. Before she moved to the Sunshine State, she covered breaking news at the Boston Globe and the Dallas Morning News.