Connect with us

South Florida

Andrew Vargas overwhelmingly takes GOP primary in HD 114

Andrew Vargas has won the Republican primary in House District 114, vacated last year by Daisy Baez.

Vargas is a 35-year-old political newcomer who works as an insurance attorney and a law partner of influential Miami-area state Rep. Carlos Trujillo.

From the 7 p.m. poll closing, Vargas took a definitive lead, getting more than 76 percent of the vote, a clear sign of his significant financial advantage in the race.

Jose Pazos, a 42-year-old U.S. Marine, combat veteran and owner of a condo association management business took 24 percent. This is his second attempt at elected office and ran a grassroots campaign as “a regular Joe.”

Pazos had also received endorsements from both the Miami Herald and the South Florida political blog PoliticalCortadito.

By Feb. 15, Vargas raised $189,323, as well as loaning $50,000 to his campaign. In comparison, Pazos raised only about $30,580, loaning the campaign $3,000.

Baez, a Coral Gables Democrat, resigned her office in November before pleading guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying about her address on a voter-registration form. She agreed to serve one year of probation instead of a possibility of a third-degree felony for lying on an official form.

HD 114 covers part of the Miami-Dade coast including Cutler Bay and Coral Gables, extending north and inland to cover parts of South Miami, West Miami and Coral Terrace.

The seat is considered a toss-up, as voter registration is somewhat split evenly between the two parties. There are about 34,000 registered Republicans in the district.

In 2016, Baez won the seat 51 percent of the vote, another in a series of close races in HD 114, with former Republican Rep. Erik Fresen winning in 2014 with 52 percent, compared to 48 percent for Baez.

Vargas will now face Democrat Javier Fernandez and independent candidate Liz de las Cuevas in the May 1 special election.

Whoever becomes the ultimate winner could hopefully break the curse of HD 114.

As the Miami Herald notes, every candidate who represented HD 114 since its formation in 2012 has pleaded guilty to criminal charges: “In April, it was Fresen, a Republican who failed to file his income tax returns for eight consecutive years. In November, it was Daisy Baez.”

Written By

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist, editor and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range included covering news, local government and entertainment reviews for Patch.com, technical articles, and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine as well as advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached at phil.ammann@gmail.com.

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.