Gov. DeSantis calls Special Election to replace Juan Fernandez-Barquin in HD 118

So far, 3 candidates are running for the seat.

Voters in a southwest swath of Miami-Dade County will decide later this year who will represent them in Tallahassee following the departure of Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order calling for a Special Election to replace Fernandez-Barquin, whom he appointed Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts and Comptroller last month.

The Primary Election for House District 118 — which spans a narrow, unincorporated strip of the county west of the Turnpike between Southwest Eighth and 232nd Streets — takes place on Oct. 3. The General Election is on Dec. 5.

So far, only fellow Republicans are running to replace Fernandez-Barquin: Miami Beach firefighter Christian Chavez, personal injury lawyer Mike Redondo and Ernie Thomas, a former appointed member of the Miami-Dade Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust and Miami-Dade Planning Advisory Board.

Redondo, who leads fundraising with $71,000 amassed in the first 12 days of his campaign last month, appears to be the party’s preferred candidate. More than a third of his gains came from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee. Miami Republican Rep. Daniel Perez, who is in line to be the next House Speaker, has endorsed him for HD 118.

Thomas has raised $1,000. Chavez has reported no campaign activity yet.

DeSantis selected Fernandez-Barquin June 10 to succeed late Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin, a broadly popular local official who dedicated 56 years of his life to public service, including more than three decades as Clerk.

Ruvin died on New Year’s Eve while in his seventh term. He was 85.

Three days after his death, Chief Judge Nushin Sayfie appointed Luis Montaldo, the longtime General Counsel for the Clerk’s Office, as interim Clerk. A friend of Ruvin’s family told Florida Politics Montaldo was Ruvin’s preferred successor.

Fernandez-Barquin, who won re-election to a third House term by a landslide in November, now oversees an office of more than 1,100 workers and a slightly larger budget than in years prior, thanks to apportionment changes enacted during the past Legislative Session.

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.

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    July 20, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Rhonda called a special election? They better not call a special session on accident. The GOP might just revoke Resign to Run’s Rhonda exemption now that it’s obvious they’re going to have Rhonda for another couple years and Rhonda’s gonna be raging.

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