Former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, part of a Miami-Dade political dynasty, is mulling a return to the upper chamber, an opportunity made possible by the recent resignation of former Sen. Frank Artiles.
Artiles, R-Miami, stepped down Friday amid a firestorm over a public tirade that included racially charged and vulgar expletives. The targets of Artiles’s alleged tongue-lashing at the members-only Governor’s Club near the Capitol included Senate President Joe Negron and his GOP leadership team.
The Diaz de la Portilla clan have played a major role in Miami-Dade politics for decades, and Alex DLP (as he was known in the Capitol) served as majority leader from 2008-2010 before being term-limited out of Senate.
He made an unsuccessful run for the House — where he served before being elected to the Senate — in 2012, losing a heated contest to Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Democrat who also defeated Alex’s brother, Miguel, in a battle over a redrawn Senate seat last November.
But, in a call to The News Service of Florida Wednesday afternoon, Alex DLP said he’s seriously pondering a run for SD 40, a Western Miami-Dade seat. DLP, who represented portions of the district for six years, said he is well-suited for the post.
“I know them and they know me. I have a proven track record of being an effective senator, providing good constituent service and also getting along with my colleagues in Tallahassee, with other senators of all groups, of all parties. That’s important in the Senate,” he said.
The Senate is “a very collegial body” that needs “somebody with stability at this time of crisis,” he said.
State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz has been widely considered a favorite to run for the seat. The Miami Republican is one of House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s leadership team, and is playing a major role in negotiating a gambling package with the Senate, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration and the Seminoles.
Alex DLP, who spent 16 years in the Legislature, said he’s already proven himself to be an effective senator.
“We need someone who’s a proven senator, a successful senator, and someone who knows the community,” DLP, 52, said. “So I’m very strongly considering running and I’ll make a decision rather quickly because there’s going to be a special election, and I think the people in this district need a good senator. An even handed senator, a level-headed senator, a mature senator, that’s the kind of thing that will make for an effective advocate for people’s causes.”
Asked if that was a contrast to Artiles, Diaz de la Portilla pivoted.
“We need to move forward. What happened happened. I’m a person that looks to the future. I think now is the time to heal…and we need to move forward. And I think I’m the person who can best do that, to bring all communities in this district together,” he said.
— Posted by Dara Kam