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2016 General Election, Florida State Senate

This is the first general election since Florida’s senate districts were redrawn and you may have landed in a new district or have different candidates than you expected. As you’ll see below, many incumbent candidates are running in different districts than they currently serve.

District 36

René Garcia (R)

Garcia is the current senator of District 38, but redistricting redrew the boundaries of several South Florida districts, including 38. This is his first year running opposed since being elected in 2010. He served in the House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008 and before that he served as the City of Hialeah councilman from 1997 to 1999, where he was born. He attended the University of Miami and received an M.B.A. in Health Administration and Policy in 2004 and received a B.S. from Florida International University in Political Science in 1999.

Endorsements:
Associated Industries of Florida
Florida Chamber of Commerce
Florida Medical Association Political Action Committee
Florida Realtors PAC
National Federation of Independent Business
SEIU Florida
SAVE

Anabella Grohoski Peralta (D)

Grohoski is a longtime resident of Miami Springs who is running for the first time. She is the president of Jade Construction Services, a permit expediting company. Her key issues are affordable housing, school reform, Everglades protection, renewable energy, universal health care and raising the minimum wage.

Endorsements:
Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida

District 37

Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R)

DLP, as he is known, is the senator for District 40, another district drastically altered by redistricting. He comes from a family of politicians. He is one of three Diaz de la Portilla brothers active in local politics and actually succeeded his brother Alex Díaz de la Portilla for the 36th district seat in 2012. He previously served as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner from 1993 to 1999. He’s an attorney who received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Miami.

Endorsements:
Associated Industries of Florida
Florida Medical Association, Dade County Medical Association
National Federation of Independent Business
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
United Faculty of Miami-Dade College
SAVE
United Teachers of Dade
Police Benevolent Association/Fraternal Order of Police
State and local firefighting unions

Jose Javier Rodriguez (D)

Rodriguez is the District 112 representative for the Florida House who lives in the Shenandoah neighborhood of the City of Miami. He defeated Alex Díaz de la Portilla, the brother of Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, for that seat. As a representative in the House, he has advocated for tax reform. He’s an attorney who received his B.A. from Brown University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Endorsements:
Florida Education Association
Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates
National Women’s Political Caucus
SAVE
President Barack Obama

Mercedes Christian (NPA)
No information found.

District 38

Daphne Campbell (D)

Daphne Campbell was elected to represent Florida House District 108 in 2010. She’s a Haitian-American registered nurse who grew up in Miami Shores and got her nursing degree in Haiti before moving to the United States with her husband. Campbell has broken rank with the party on some abortion issues, taking a pro-life stance, and laid low during a crowded primary race to win the Democratic nomination. Her website includes a list of accomplishments during her time in the House, although multiple fraud investigations into her health care company led the Florida Democratic Party to ask her to resign in 2012.

Endorsements:
Associated Industries of Florida
Florida Family Action
Florida Medical Association Political Action Committee
Florida Right to Life
Personhood Florida

Phillip J. Brutus (NPA)

Brutus is running as an independent this race, but has previously run as a Democrat. The switch was likely a move to get to the general election — the Democratic primary was a tough race with six candidates. Brutus previously served as the District 108 representative in the Florida House. He got is B.A. at the University of Massachusetts Boston and his J.D. at Suffolk University Law School. While serving in the House, Brutus’ campaign was fined Florida Election Commission for violating ethical guidelines and was reprimanded by Gov. Rick Scott.

Endorsements:

SAVE
The following unions:
United Food and Commercial Workers Union; Local 1625.
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
South Florida Central Labor Council
United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 1625.

District 39

Anitere Flores (R)

Flores is currently the senator for District 37, but redistricting has shifted her district. She was first elected to the Senate in 2010 in District 38.  She was the Republican whip from 2010 to 2012 and served in the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2010. She was Gov. Jeb Bush’s education policy chief. She is currently an attorney and the former president of Doral College, an unaccredited school serving primarily high school students. She received her B.A. from Florida International University and J.D. from the University of Florida.

Endorsements:

Associated Industries of Florida
Florida Chamber of Commerce
Florida Medical Association Political Action Committee
Florida Realtors PAC
Florida Retail Federation
SEIU Florida

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D)

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has lived in Miami for 20 years. Her main priorities are improving public education, strengthening women’s reproductive rights, and improving environmental protections. She received her B.S. from Pitzer College and her M.A. from Claremont Graduate University. She is currently the president of DMP Associates, a consulting firm that helps non-profits with fundraising. She has not previously held public office.

Endorsements:

SAVE
National Women’s Political Caucus
Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates
Ruth’s List Florida
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine
President Barack Obama
Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida
Democratic Veterans Caucus
Emily’s List
Eye on Miami

District 40

Frank Artiles (R)

Artiles represents the 118th district in the Florida House, where he has served since 2010. He received his B.S. in Criminal Justice & Criminology from Florida State University and his J.D. from St. Thomas Law School. He’s a small business owner and former U.S. Marine. He received Legislator of the Year awards from Floridians for Equitable Practices and the Association of Builders and Contractors, Inc. in 2011 and 2012 respectively. His primary goals are improving education, reducing tolls, and increasing safety.

Endorsements:

Associated Industries of Florida
Florida Medical Association Political Action Committee
National Federation of Independent Business
National Rifle Association

Dwight M. Bullard (D)

Bullard is the current senator for District 39 and is running for District 40 now due to redistricting. He was elected to the Senate in 2012 and served in the state House of Representatives for four years before that. He’s a teacher at Coral Reef Senior High School and has been recognized for his educational leadership by a number of state organizations. He was awarded the Young Democrats of Miami-Dade Outstanding Leadership Award. Bullard was born in Philadelphia, but moved to Miami as a child. His mother served in the Florida House from 1992 to 2000 and the Senate from 2002 to 2012, while his father served in the House from 2000 to 2008. Bullard earned his B.A. in history education at Florida A&M University.

Endorsements:

SAVE
Equality Florida
Florida AFL-CIO
Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates
Florida Conservation Voters
Florida Education Association
National Women’s Political Caucus
SEIU Florida

Mario Jimenez (NPA)

Jimenez has not previously held office. His primary goal is to reform the Department of Children and Families. No other information found.

Endorsements:
None found.

Endorsements collected from VoteSmart.org, candidate web pages, and organization web pages.