Republican Sen. Anitere Flores on Monday endorsed state Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez to succeed her in the Senate.
“Ana Maria Rodriguez understands the unique challenges and opportunities facing the hardworking people of South Florida,” Flores said in a news release. “As a working mother and a leader in our community, she will be the strong advocate we need in Tallahassee.”
Flores has represented Senate District 39 since 2010, but she cannot run for reelection next year due to term limits.
“I am honored to have the support of an incredible South Florida leader like Senator Flores,” said Rodriguez, who entered the race in July. “The strength of the team we are building will ensure our reach across the district as we begin this very important conversation with the people of South Florida.”
Rodriguez, also a Republican, is currently in her first term representing House District 105. Since entering the Senate race a month ago, she has raised more than $80,000 between her campaign and committee accounts.
That sum could soon grow, thanks to a committee week fundraiser hosted by Republican Sens. Kathleen Passidomo, Lizbeth Benacquisto and Kelli Stargel.
Rodriguez faces Angie Charino in the Republican Primary. The winner of the nominating contest is likely to face well-funded Democratic candidate Anna Hochhammer.
SD 39 covers all of Monroe County as well as part of Miami Dade. It has been held by Flores since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections.
In 2016, Flores was reelected by 8 points, though the district swung the other way at the top of the ballot, preferring Hillary Clinton by double digits.