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Is Daisy Baez Democrats' consensus pick to replace Frank Artiles?

Baez@PatriciaMazzei

Here's a sign Florida Democrats might be coalescing around state Rep. Daisy Baez to run for former Sen. Frank Artiles' seat: Baez won the backing Monday of not one but two contenders for Florida governor.

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum endorsed Baez within minutes of each other Monday afternoon, shortly after Gov. Rick Scott scheduled a special primary election for July 25 and a special general election for Sept. 26. Artiles, a Republican, resigned last month after delivering a racist and sexist diatribe before two African-American senators.

Baez, a freshman representative from Coral Gables, was elected only last November. But Democrats figure a Hispanic woman might be their best chance at winning Artiles' competitive Southwest Miami-Dade County seat.

"From her service in the United States Army to her service in the Florida House, Representative Baez has dedicated her life to defending our values," Graham said in a statement released at 3:24 p.m. "In the Senate, she will advocate for public schools, help create good-paying jobs, and defend access to affordable healthcare."

"Daisy Baez has held countless roles in public service -- U.S. Army veteran, Florida Representative, activist and mother -- and those experiences have molded her into the best choice to represent Senate District 40," Gillum said in a statement released at 3:48 p.m. "She has a sharp focus on rebuilding our economy into one that works better for every Floridian, and she is a fierce leader for students and working families."

So far, Baez is the only Democrat running for the seat, though another freshman state representative, Robert Asencio of Miami, has said he's considering it. She will have to resign from the House to run -- as would Asencio.

Photo credit: Scott Keeler, Tampa Bay Times

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