Fresh off last night’s special primary election victory, former state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz got a six-figure boost from the national Republican State Leadership Committee.
Diaz trounced Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a former Senate majority leader who spent 16 years in the Legislature, in yesterday’s special election for Senate District 40, garnering nearly 58 percent of the votes cast in the GOP primary. Diaz de la Portilla captured about 27 percent of the vote, and Miami lawyer Lorenzo Palomares finished a distant third, with less than 17 percent.
On Wednesday, the RSLC announced it is steering $100,000 to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee to help Diaz in his Sept. 26 special election face-off against Democrat Annette Taddeo, who handily defeated opponent Ana Rivas Logan in yesterday’s primary.
“Diaz has been a tireless advocate for Floridians during his tenure in the state House and will continue this work when he joins the state Senate in September. The citizens of the 40th Senate District know Diaz will fight for lower taxes, smaller government and more economic freedom when they send him to Tallahassee in the fall. We are looking forward to helping him keep his district under Republican leadership and are ready to assist him with whatever resources he needs during his general election,” RSLC President Matt Walter said in a press release.
Diaz has served on the board of the RSLC’s “Future Majority Project,” according to the release.
The special election for the Southwest Miami-Dade County seat comes after former state Sen. Frank Artiles was forced to resign in April following a racially charged and expletive-laced tirade at a private club near the Capitol.
The Senate district is one of a handful of true swing seats in the Senate. Although Democrats hold a slight edge in voter registration, the Southwest Miami-Dade County district is almost evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and voters with no party affiliation.
Dems are hoping to recapture the seat, previously held by former state Sen. Dwight Bullard. Artiles ousted Bullard in November, after the district’s boundaries were redrawn.