Rafael Perez, who three years ago lost a tight Florida House Republican primary to now-state Rep. Erik Fresen, announced Monday he will run again -- but for a different seat.
Perez intends to seek Rep. Esteban Bovo's Hialeah post, under the presumption that Bovo, a Republican, will resign to run for the post of former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Natacha Seijas, who was recalled along with Mayor Carlos Alvarez in a landslide last week.
"I am from Hialeah, I was raised here," Perez said. "I've always wanted to be a public servant."
Perez, who owns a general contracting business in Hialeah, was once a legislative aide to Sen. Marco Rubio when Rubio served in Tallahassee. In 2008, Perez lost the race to replace Rubio in a district that includes Coral Gables, West Miami, Miami Springs and a portion of Hialeah. Perez would have to move into Bovo's district if elected.
This time around, Perez expects to have a short window to raise money and campaign for the House. If Bovo resigns, Gov. Rick Scott should schedule a special election to replace Bovo at the same time as the county sets a date to cast ballots for a new mayor and commissioner, Perez said.
Francisco J. Lago, also a Republican, has already filed to run for Bovo's seat, but for 2012. It is unclear if he would run in a special election; Lago could not be immediately reached for comment.