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Ralph Arza “seriously thinking” of return to FL House

Former Republican Rep. Ralph Arza, the one-time bad boy of a wild Dade delegation, says he’s “seriously thinking” about running for his old Hialeah-based seat, District 102.

“ I have something to offer,” said Arza, who was once the go-to guy for former Gov. Jeb Bush’s education policy. Bush fondly referred to him as “colonel.” Arza was also one of the major forces behind current U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s rise to power in the Florida House, where he served as speaker in 2007 and 2008.

But before Rubio presided over his first session, Arza’s hard-hitting style met Miami-Dade’s former schools chief Rudy Crew. Arza also clashed with former Rep. Gus Barreiro, who alleged Arza used racially insensitive words to refer to Crew. He filed a Rules Committee complaint. An enraged Arza and his cousin then called Barreiro and left a string of inappropriate messages. Arza was charged with witness tampering, agreed not to run for office in 2008 and avoided a felony trial. He also sought counseling.

Arza's absence came at the worst of times for Rubio, who was on a political crash course with then-Gov. Charlie Crist, who had an easier time working around Rubio without Arza in the chamber. Still, Rubio had David Rivera to rely on.

Since he left office, Arza has worked as a consultant, grown more religious and moved to Palm Beach County (though he kept his Hialeah-area home). Political observes say he’d be the man to beat in his old district. A dogged campaigner, he was well respected for an encyclopedic knowledge of his constituents and even made sure to remember the names of their dogs.

The seat he left is occupied by Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, who plans to run for Hialeah mayor. So far Republicans Paul Crespo, Manny Diaz and Jessie Fortich have announced they’ll run for the seat.

Arza said he’s not sure he’d run yet.

“The kids are older now and there’s a lot of things that were hurtful in the past,” Arza said. “I need to talk to my wife and my priest. But he’s pretty busy these days.”

Stay tuned.

Comments

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Cynical Idealist

Not gonna do it....support Arza that is.

Carlos Fonseca

Ralphy, so you are ready to put your family through the pain of what you did? no one has forgotten you are a convicted felon, I can see the Ralph Arza greatest hits CD being mailed to voters.... wow!

joe blow

Ralph kept his home in Hialeah? Sounds like another Frank Artiles.
Ralph's house is in the Country Club of Miami about five miles north of Hialeah. Check Dade county property records if you don't believe it.
Anyway, Ralph has been living in Lake Worth so good luck on that.
Hope Adam Smith and the SP Times find out about this. They should have a field day!

Kathy Henley

If what Naked Politics is reporting with respect to Arza's idiotic comments, why would any citizen in Miami-Dade County support any attempt by Arza to run for public office.

There is an old saying from the late 1800s and early 1900s that goes like this: "What's the matter with Kansas?" If anyone interested wants to look into the reason for that saying, they will understand that it is a metaphor for what is wrong with Miami-Dade County now-a-days.

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