Ileana Garcia officially files to challenge José Javier Rodríguez in SD 37
Ileana Garcia, Jose Javier Rodriguez

Republican Senate leadership is backing Garcia's bid.

Latinas For Trump founder Ileana Garcia is officially entering the race to challenge Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez in Senate District 37.

Garcia, a Republican, was selected by Senate leadership late last week to compete in the contest. Monday, Garcia officially filed with the Division of Elections and officially launched her bid.

“My entire life’s experience has led to this moment,” Garcia said.

“The sacrifices made by my grandparents, the work ethic instilled in me by my parents, and the opportunities I could only find in the United States are what I plan to bring to the Florida Senate. I am thankful to Senate President Designate [Wilton] Simpson and Majority Leader [Kathleen] Passidomo for their support in this endeavor.”

Both Simpson and Passidomo offered their support for Garcia last Friday.

“The hard working people of South Florida deserve a state senator who will put them first and work to ensure they have access to opportunities, regardless of their ZIP code,” Simpson said.

Passidomo added, “Ileana serves as a tremendous example of what can be accomplished, regardless of where you come from or what you’ve been through, when you work hard.”

Garcia was born to Cuban exiles and grew up in Miami-Dade County. She started off in media, working in both television and radio. Garcia eventually landed a job in the Donald Trump administration, serving as a deputy press secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.

Now, she’ll attempt to flip the SD 37 seat for Republicans.

“The sacrifices made by so many in our community to become free, and make a better life for their families, should be represented by a State Senator who rejects socialism, the oppressive policies of dictatorships and embraces the opportunities Florida and the United States provides,” Garcia added.

SD 37 covers portions of Miami-Dade County including Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest.

Rodríguez, who is seeking a second term in the Senate after serving four years in the House, had raised $364,592 for his reelection bid as of April 30, a finance report shows

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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