Javier Fernandez hopes being the Democratic favorite will carry him to victory in SD 39 primary

It looks like an easy win.

Rep. Javier Fernandez received the immediate endorsement of his party in his run for Senate District 39.

But first he has to get through the primary.

Fernandez, who currently represents HD 114, will face off against Daniel Horton-Diaz in Tuesday’s primary, and the winner will go on to oppose Republican Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez in the general election.

Fernandez is a graduate of Colby College and the University of Miami Law School, and he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018. Two years later, he’s running for the Florida Senate.

“I have been fortunate in both my House and Senate races that the party has endorsed me as their candidate,” Fernandez said in an interview questionnaire with FloridaPolitics. “In this Senate race, we received the immediate endorsement of all 17 Democratic Senators and are the featured race for this cycle.”

The Senate currently has a 23-17 split in favor of Republicans, and the Democrats have seen this district as an opportunity to even the scales.

SD 39 encompasses Monroe County and part of southern Miami-Dade County. 

Incumbent Republican Sen. Anitere Flores is term limited out of office, leaving the race open. Flores endorsed Rodriguez last August, and Gov. Ron DeSantis offered his endorsement in June.

Rodriguez is running unopposed on the Republican side.

Fernandez is running to improve transportation, expand investment in affordable housing, protect water quality and restore the Everglades. 

The fundraising race has been tight between Fernandez and Rodriguez, but Horton-Diaz hasn’t been as active, giving Fernandez yet another edge in Tuesday’s primary.

Horton-Diaz is a former district chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and he earned his law degree from Florida International University. Horton-Diaz has cast his two opponents as former lobbyists who don’t live in his district. Horton-Diaz, like Fernandez, has said that clean water is one of his electoral priorities.

Mucarsel-Powell elected to endorse Fernandez over her former staffer in June.

Celso Alfonso is also running in the general election as a non-party affiliated candidate.

Spencer Fordin

Spencer Fordin grew up in Port Washington, N.Y. and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. Before working for FloridaPolitics.com, he spent 16 seasons with MLB.com and nearly three years as a general assignment reporter in the Cayman Islands. You can reach Spencer at [email protected].


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