In the Florida House District 116 special election, Republican Daniel Perez defeated Democrat Gabriela Mayaudón. Perez will now replace state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, who resigned the seat to run for state Senate District 40.
Perez is an attorney and a first-time candidate. While Mayaudón is also a novice legislative candidate in Florida, she had been a former Venezuelan legislator, moving to South Florida seven years ago.
According to early vote counts from the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Office, Perez received 66 percent; Mayaudón took 34 percent.
With 42 of 47 districts reporting, more than 13,100 voters have cast ballots in the HD 116 race.
The district, which covers part of southwest Miami-Dade, leans Republican — making a flip to Democrat difficult.
As of Monday, 30,700 early vote ballots had been cast for both the SD 40 and HD 116 races, out of more than 82,000 requested ballots.
Of those early votes, 14,200 were Republican, versus 10,700 Democrat, according to the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections office. About 5,800 votes were no party affiliated.
Since Sept. 16, another 4,560 in-person early votes have been cast.
The movements in HD 116 and SD 40 were set off by former state Sen. Frank Artiles, who resigned after an alcohol-fueled tirade against two black lawmakers in April, which made national headlines.
Despite his initial defiance, Artiles apologized and stepped down, after it was also revealed his political committee hired a Hooters waitress and Playboy model as “consultants.”