Democratic State Rep. Victor Torres filed Monday to run for the state Senate in the seat that would be vacated by state Sen. Darren Soto, and Torres’ daughter, Democrat Amy Mercado, filed to run to replace her father in the House of Representatives.
Torres, completing his second term, was the first to file to run in Orlando-based Senate District 15, now that it has been redrawn, renumbered, and set for a new election in November. He had planned and expected for months to follow Soto, who is running for U.S. Congress and not for re-election.
Senate District 15 covers southern Orange County and northern Osceola County.
Mercado, who ran for the House of Representatives five years ago, but lost to then-Speaker Dean Cannon, will be making her second run for the House, this time in House District 48, based in south Orange County. She also served two years as chair of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee.
No Republicans have filed yet to run for either seat.
The region is heavily Hispanic with a large Puerto Rican population. Torres and Mercado are of Puerto Rican descent, via New York City, where he was a transit police officer.
“This is a seat we’ve got to maintain for the people as Democratic, as Sen. Soto has done for many years,” Torres said of SD 16. “I know that I can do the job.”
Mercado is director of operations for the National Mango Board, which oversees promotion and research into domestic and imported mango cultivation, business and consumption.
“Obviously, I’m going to continue the fight that he started there,” Mercado said of HD 48.