In what may be the sleeper legislative campaign of the season, Sen. Gwen Margolis, the veteran Democrat from Miami, is getting a run for her money — literally — from Miami Beach lawyer John Couriel in the newly drawn coastal district.
Margolis has loaned herself $160,000 to win re-election to Senate District 35, which stretches from Golden Beach to Homestead. But she is being out-raised and, thus far, outspent by the Republican newcomer.
Couriel, 34, has collected $213,830 in campaign contributions to Margolis’ $174,093 and has won the endorsements of former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. A Harvard-educated lawyer, Couriel quit his job as an assistant U.S. attorney in Miami to run for the seat and vows to out-campaign Margolis, 78, a former state Senate president who was first elected to the state House in 1974.
“I’m hustling. I’ve never done this before but I’m not going to be out-worked,’’ Couriel said Monday during a break from walking door-to-door in Pinecrest.
Couriel has the trappings of broad Republican support, from the endorsements of party icons Rubio and Bush to a political committee running attack ads against his opponent. But there is one notable absence: his race is not among the must-watch contests receiving cash infusions from the Senate Majority, the political committees controlled by incoming Senate leader Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. More here.