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Oliva ally Manny Diaz Jr. wins as field narrows for speaker in 2018

Consider this a major mea culpa. We reported late Tuesday that Miami Rep. Jose Oliva R-Miami Lakes, succeeded in electing more allies in his bid to become House speaker in 2018.

This is true, but we erred when we said one of those allies was Alex Diaz de la Portilla. He's not and neither was his brother, Renier. Oliva worked hard to elect Manny Diaz Jr. in the race against Renier Diaz de la Portilla for the District 103 House seat.

For his part, Alex Diaz de la Portilla succeeded in defeating Gus Barriero in the District 112 seat and will face Jose Javier Rodriquez in the general election.

Oliva, CEO of his family’s cigar company, was first elected to the House in a special election in 2011, defeated a primary challenger on Tuesday and faces only a write-in candidate in November. He has been working for months to line up support to become the next House speaker from Miami since Marco Rubio held that post from 2006-08.

Tuesday's primary helped to narrow the field for the two-year speakership job in 2018. Term limits have effectively turned the race into a popularly contest held six years out as legislators scramble to designate a favorite candidate among a field of little knowns.

Those who have been in Tallahassee longer tend to have the advantage. Rubio, like Oliva, was a "red shirt" freshmen elected in a special election who served an extra year beyond the eight-year term limit.

Two former state representatives who were also considering a speakership campaign, Carl Domino of West Palm Beach and Michael Grant of Bonita Springs, lost their primary bids to return to Tallahassee. Speculation is that Oliva's two top challengers are now Dan Raulerson from Plant City and Halsey Balshears from Tallahassee. Both face Democratic challengers in the general election.