Three candidates–a Democrat and two Republicans–have qualified for the special election to fill the state House of Representatives District 116 seat in Miami-Dade County.
The election will determine who will succeed Jose Felix Diaz, a Miami Republican who is leaving the House to run for the vacant Senate District 40 position.
The two Republicans–Jose Maella and Daniel Anthony Perez–will face off in a primary that is scheduled for July 25. The winner of the primary will go against the lone Democrat to qualify for the race, Gabriela Mayaudon, in a special general election on September 26.
A second Democrat withdrew his name from the race. Ross Hancock said he had filed the paperwork to run only to ensure there would be a Democrat in the race. He said he withdrew when it became apparent that Mayaudon would enter the race.
Maella once worked for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and served as an advisor for Jeb Bush’s presidential bid last year. Perez, who is running in his first election, is a Miami attorney.
Mayaudon moved to South Florida seven years ago. She once served as a legislator in Venezuela.
Neither Maella or Mayaudon currently live in House District 116. In order for either candidate to take office if they should win the special election, the state constitution requires that they move to the district by election day.
The seat became open after Rep. Diaz announced he would step down to run for the open Senate seat formerly held by Frank Artiles. Artiles resigned from his Senate seat after he directed offensive and racist comments at two fellow lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar.