A number of resignations and other appointments have led to a busy non-election year in 2017, with special elections for State House and Senate seats in Orlando, Miami and Tampa. Florida Farm Bureau is keeping a close eye on all of these races as several new members will join the Legislature before the 2018 legislative session kicks off on January 9.
Senate District 40, in Miami-Dade County, was vacated after the resignation of Sen. Frank Artiles. On July 25, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz won the Republican primary over former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and will face Annette Taddeo, who won the Democratic primary over Ana Rivas Logan and others. That general election will be held later this month on Sept. 26.
House District 116, also in Miami-Dade County, was left open after Rep. Jose Felix Diaz resigned to run for SD 40. On July 25, Daniel Perez edged out Jose Mallea in the Republican primary and will take on Democrat Gabriela Mayaudon in the general election, which like SD 40, is scheduled to be held on Sept. 26.
Following Gov. Rick Scott’s appointment of Rep. Eric Eisnaugle as a state appeals judge, House District 44 in Orange County was also left with a vacancy. Just last month, “Bobby O” Olszewski won a crowded Republican primary and has won the seat after Democratic candidate Paul Chandler withdrew from the race. There will not be a general election for this seat.
After Rep. Dan Raulerson suddenly resigned, a special election for House District 58 in Hillsborough County was scheduled. Hillsborough County Farm Bureau Board member Lawrence McClure will take on Yvonne Fry in the Republican primary, scheduled for Oct. 10. The winner will face Democrat Jose Vazquez, NPA Ahmad Hussam Saadaldin and LPF Bryan Zemina in the general election scheduled for Dec. 19. The Hillsborough County Farm Bureau and Florida FarmPAC are supporting Lawrence McClure in this race.
Finally, Rep. Alex Miller surprisingly resigned her seat in House District on Aug. 24 which will create a vacancy in House District 72 in Sarasota. The date for this special election hasn’t been set yet, but James Buchanan, son of Sarasota-area Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan, has already declared his intentions of running for the vacated seat.
In addition to these special elections, Florida Farm Bureau continues to monitor the four statewide races that will be on the ballot in Nov. 2018 for Governor, CFO, Attorney General and Agriculture Commissioner. Those races are starting to heat up as we are less than a year from the primaries. We look forward to keeping you updated on the political happenings around Florida over the next year.