Janelle Perez campaign eyes post-redistricting SD 40, where she’d still face Ileana Garcia
Photo via Colin Hackley.

Janelle Perez Ileana Garcia
The change leaves Senate District 37 wide open.

A November 2022 showdown over Senate District 37 between incumbent Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia and Democratic challenger Janelle Perez may shift to another district if the Legislature approves preliminary state redistricting plans.

Garcia would no longer be running to keep her seat in SD 37, which upon proposed redistricting would shrink to only cover a small portion of Miami-Dade County’s coast, including parts of Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables and Sweetwater.

Instead, she and Perez, who lives in Pinecrest, would run to succeed Sen. Annette Taddeo in SD 40, which would move from covering landlocked, unincorporated areas in southwest Miami-Dade to encompassing the coastal cities of Homestead, Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami and Key Biscayne.

That means Democrats would need to come up with another candidate for SD 37, said Democratic consultant and strategist Christian Ulvert, who manages Perez’s political committee, among other things.

“Janelle Perez lives in the new Senate District 40, and that’s where she will run,” he said. “That puts Senate Democrats in a position to recruit in SD 37.”

Changes to Senate districts 37 and 40 are among several major redistricting moves in Miami-Dade County.

A shift from SD 37 to SD 40 would mark the second change of districts for Perez in the 2022 election cycle. In early August, the local businessowner, LGBTQ community leader and cancer survivor launched a campaign against Republican U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar for Florida’s 27th Congressional District.

In mid-September, Perez swapped races for her inaugural run for public office by resetting her eyes on Garcia’s seat, which she said would be “absolutely the best way” for her to “have a positive impact in our community.”

Perez has since raised more than $300,000 toward her Senate bid.

Garcia holds about $345,000 between her campaign and political committee.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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