Perez cruises to win in Miami-Dade House race

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In the first in a series of special elections for Florida House seats, Republican Daniel Perez was headed to an easy win Tuesday night in a Miami-Dade County district.

With 42 of 47 precincts reporting in House District 116, Perez, an attorney, had 65.8 percent of the vote, while Democrat Gabriela Mayaudon had 34.2 percent, according to results posted on the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections website. Perez will replace former Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, a Republican who resigned to run in a special election Tuesday for a state Senate seat.

“Congratulations to Danny Perez, the newest member of the Florida House,'' tweeted Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican slated to become House speaker in 2020. “We are looking forward to serving with you.”

While Perez won a tough July primary against fellow Republican Jose Mallea, the special general election held little suspense. Mayaudon raised only $1,950 from June 5 through Aug. 18, and the state Division of Elections website does not include a finance report for her after that point. Perez, by comparison, raised $320,988 for the race.

Diaz resigned from the seat to try to succeed former Sen. Frank Artiles, a Miami Republican who resigned in April after directing a racially charged outburst at a fellow senator in a members-only club near the Capitol. Diaz trailed Democrat Annette Taddeo in early returns in the Senate race Tuesday night.

Perez's win was part of a somewhat-unusual string of four special elections for House seats --- all of which have been vacated by Republicans.

On Oct. 10, Orange County voters will choose a replacement for former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who left the House District 44 seat this spring to become a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal. That race pits Republican Bobby Olszewski and Democrat Eddy Dominguez.

Also on Oct. 10, a special Republican primary election will be held in Hillsborough County's House District 58, which former Rep. Dan Raulerson left because of health issues. Republicans Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure are vying in the primary, with the winner facing a Democrat, a Libertarian and a no-party candidate in the Dec. 19 special general election.

The other special election will be held to replace former Rep. Alex Miller, who resigned effective Sept. 1 in Sarasota County's House District 72. Miller cited family and business reasons. A special primary election will be held Dec. 5, with the special general election Feb. 13. Candidate qualifying for that race will be held Thursday and Friday.