Rep. Jose Felix Diaz is believed to be in the running to become South Florida’s top federal prosecutor.
According to POLITICO Florida, Diaz and John Couriel have interviewed with the Justice Department and were recommended — along with attorney Jon Sale — for the Southern District of Florida U.S. Attorney post. All three men were recommended by Sen. Marco Rubio, according to the report.
Diaz, an attorney a government law attorney at Akerman, was first elected to the Florida House in 2010. He is currently the chairman of the House Commerce Committee, and has been the chamber’s point person on gambling legislation in recent years. Last week, House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced Diaz would serve as the alternating chairman of the conference committee formed to hammer out the details of this year’s gambling bill.
The 37-year-old Miami-Dade Republican had expressed interest in filling Attorney General Pam Bondi’s seat if she took a job in the Trump administration. He has also said he was thinking about running for the statewide elected office in 2018, when he’s term limited.
Diaz, according to POLITICO Florida, is seen as having a slight edge over the other candidates because of his relationship with President Donald Trump. In 2006, Diaz was a contestant on “The Apprentice,” but was eliminated on the second episode. The two men, according to POLITICO Florida, have remained friendly.
Couriel, a 39-year-old attorney at Kobre & Kim, previously as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District where he handled economic and major criminal prosecutions. Couiel has a backer in Sen. Tom Cotton, a longtime friend and an ally of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to POLITICO Florida.
Couriel unsuccessfully ran for the Florida House in November, losing the House District 114 race to Democrat Daisy Baez.