Ron DeSantis endorses Ileana Garcia as she challenges José Javier Rodríguez in SD 37
Ileana Garcia, Jose Javier Rodriguez

Senate leadership selected Garcia, a Republican, to compete in the contest.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he will support Ileana Garcia’s challenge to Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez in Senate District 37.

Senate leadership selected Garcia, a Republican, to compete in the contest.

“As the daughter of Cuban exiles, Ileana knows first-hand the failed promises of the socialist policies being pushed by today’s Democrats,” DeSantis said.

“I am proud to endorse Ileana Garcia because now more than ever, the people of South Florida deserve a state Senator who will fight for their access to economic and education opportunities.”

Republicans — including DeSantis — have continued to label Democrats’ more left-leaning policies as outright “socialist,” especially in South Florida legislative contests. The region is home to a large Latino population, many of whom have fled socialist regimes.

Rodríguez, too, is of Cuban descent. During the 2018 gubernatorial contest — when DeSantis labeled Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum as a “socialist” — Rodríguez accused Republicans of “running a campaign of fear.”

Nevertheless, Senate President-Designate Wilton Simpson echoed the “socialist” jab in a statement endorsing Garcia in late May.

“Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a champion for economic opportunity for all Floridians and I am honored to have his support,” Garcia said in response to the Governor’s endorsement.

“His steadfast leadership during these unprecedented times has been a model for the nation, and I look forward to working with him as a member of the Florida Senate.”

Garcia is the only Republican who qualified for the contest, making the Governor’s endorsement all but a formality. Alex Rodriguez also qualified for the contest as a non-party affiliated candidate.

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.

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

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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