Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.
Taddeo and Diaz will now face off in the Sept. 26 general election for Senate District 40, a competitive seat in the heart of Southwest Miami-Dade County.
Diaz defeated two opponents, former Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and attorney Lorenzo Palomares. The testy rivalry between Diaz and Diaz de la Portilla — who released a pair of polls early on boasting about his broad name identification — suggested the race could be close.
But Diaz, who along with his political committee spent more than $2 million on the campaign, won decisively Tuesday: He took 58 percent of the vote, compared to Diaz de la Portilla’s 26 percent and Palomares’ 17 percent, according to unofficial results that were still incomplete late Tuesday.
Diaz, who is known as Pepi and is a beloved figure among most Tallahassee Republicans, resigned his House seat to run.
“When this race started and we looked at the numbers, they weren’t wrong: We were losing by a lot,” Diaz told supporters Tuesday at the Latin American Cafeteria in Kendall. Some of them celebrated by playing bongos and singing “Guantanamera.”