Heading into last month’s primary election, voters from Palmetto Bay to Miami were bombarded with political ads from the campaigns of two competing state Senate candidates touting progressive credentials like education funding and environmental regulation.
But the race for Senate District 37 wasn’t on the Aug. 30 ballot. Nor is it a competition between two Democrats.
Rather, a statewide redrawing of Florida’s Senate districts has set the table for a November clash between Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a three-term Republican incumbent with a big name and independent streak, and José Javier Rodríguez, a two-term state representative and “rising star” in the Democratic party. (A third candidate, Mercedes Christian, has no party affiliation and no money.)
The race is already among the most competitive and contentious in the state. And in a presidential election sure to draw out its base, the Democratic party is running hard after the seat — and Diaz de la Portilla is running hard to the center.