Republican Rod Dorilás to challenge Lois Frankel in CD 21
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Rod Dorilas
Dorilás will be fighting an uphill battle in the Democratic-leaning district.

Rod Dorilás, a Navy veteran who served in the Commerce Department under President Donald Trump, says he’s vying for the GOP nomination in Florida’s 21st Congressional District.

Dorilás announced his candidacy in a Monday video.

“I’m Rod Dorilás, and I’m running for Congress in Southeast Florida to stand up for our country and stop the radical left in Washington from destroying everything that makes America great.”

Republican Keith Feit has also filed to run in CD 21, meaning the GOP Primary will be contested. Last year’s Republican Primary featured six candidates vying for the nomination, with right-wing provocateur Laura Loomer winning the nod.

Frankel, however, went on to win the General Election by 20 percentage points, courting nearly 60% of the vote against Loomer and Charleston Malkemus. While Dorilás will face an uphill battle in the left-leaning district, he’s playing up his background in an effort to expand his support outside the GOP base, while also attacking Democrats as “socialists.”

“I guess I don’t exactly fit into the left’s definition of a ‘conservative.’ I’m the first-generation son of two Haitian immigrants,” Dorilás said. “My family built their own American dream without the ‘help’ of left-wing socialist politicians.”

The “socialist” smear has been used by Republicans repeatedly, despite Democrats consistently denouncing the label. Florida Republicans enjoyed plenty of success with the phrase this past November, particularly in Miami-Dade County.

Frankel’s district is a couple counties north, in Palm Beach. It’s unclear how much the messaging will play or whether Dorilás would be able to give Frankel a challenge should he win the GOP nomination.

Lest he forget about the base, Dorilás is also playing up his time serving in Trump’s Commerce Department under former Secretary Wilbur Ross.

“We fought every day to ensure American families and businesses weren’t getting railroaded by the Chinese Communist Party,” Dorilás said. “Protecting our country’s interests and putting Americans first is not just a fight for our generation, it’s for our children and grandchildren.”

Still, Frankel will be the favorite in 2022. Democrats have a double-digit advantage in voter registration, and Loomer faltered despite raising plenty of money last cycle.

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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