To avoid running against an incumbent fellow Republican, government and public affairs consultant Vicki Lopez has set her sights on the newly drawn Senate District 38, where she will face at least one Primary opponent.
As of Monday, the Division of Elections shows her as running in SD 38 against Republican political operative Alina García and Democratic business owner and first-time candidate Janelle Perez.
Lopez said she put a hold on filing until Sen. Ileana Garcia decided where she would seek re-election. Garcia, who narrowly won election to Senate District 37 in November 2020, has filed to run in the new Senate District 36, where she will face Democratic Rep. Michael Grieco.
“Many of you know that I have been looking at this seat since June of last year,” Lopez wrote Sunday. “Thank you to all who recruited me and encouraged me to seek this Senate seat. Onward to Victory!”
A self-described “center-right candidate,” Lopez is a longtime political insider who today runs Miami-based VLL Consulting. She is a former member of the Lee County Commission and served in state-appointed roles in the Florida Senate and under Govs. Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott, specializing in education, prisoner reentry, criminal justice reform and juvenile justice reform.
She has also served in numerous capacities within the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
SD 38 spans a large portion of Miami-Dade County’s coast, including parts of Coral Gables, Homestead and Miami and the entirety of Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay.
Lopez’s Primary opponent, García, had about $232,000 between her campaign account and political committee, Florida Always First, as of Feb. 28. García has worked for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Hialeah Mayor Esteban “Steve” Bovo, Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo and former state Sen. Frank Artiles.
Perez, a cancer survivor and active LGBTQ community member who co-owns her family’s Medicare managed-care company, holds about $338,000 between her campaign account and political committee, Democracy and Freedom.
Lopez has yet to report any campaign fundraising, though she previously said she’d seen “a whirlwind of activity” while securing financial commitments and endorsements prior to her candidacy announcement.
The Division of Elections lists her official filing date as March 25.