3 candidates qualify for HD 118 Special Election
Ameican democracy voting booth

Ameican polling booth
The race includes a Democrat, a Republican and a no-party candidate.

Three candidates, each of a different political persuasion, have qualified for a Special Election to fill a vacant Florida House seat representing part of southwestern Miami-Dade.

Qualifying is now closed in the race for House District 118, which spans a narrow, unincorporated strip of the county west of the turnpike between Southwest Eighth and 232nd Streets.

Election Day is Dec. 5. The candidates include:

— No-party candidate Francisco “Frank” De la Paz, a construction executive who previously mounted an unsuccessful bid for a Miami-Dade Community Council position in 2016.

Johnny Farias, a Democratic electrician and former Community Council member who ran for HD 118 last year as well.

Mike Redondo, a Republican lawyer who enjoys financial backing from his party’s state leadership.

Two other Republican candidates — Miami Beach firefighter Christian Chavez and Ernie Thomas, a former appointed member of the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust and Miami-Dade Planning Advisory Board — also filed for the race. Neither qualified, according to the Division of Elections, which shows Chavez as an active candidate in 2024.

Gov. Ron DeSantis called the Special Election on July 19, about one month and a week after he appointed the prior Representative of HD 118, Republican Juan Fernandez-Barquin, to serve as Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts and Comptroller.

Fernandez-Barquin won re-election to the HD 118 seat in November, when he defeated Farias with 68% of the vote. In his renewed run this year, Farias has already assembled a team to help him secure election.

Farias and De La Paz both filed for the contest Aug. 3 and have not yet reported any related fundraising or spending.

Redondo, meanwhile, raised more than $71,000 in just 12 days in June. More than a quarter of that sum — $25,000 — came from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee. Another $5,000 came from subsidiaries of sugar giant Florida Crystals. Redondo also accepted $1,000 apiece from Coral Gables state Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera and her husband, Miami-Dade Commissioner Kevin Marino Cabrera, as well as former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart.

Miami Republican Rep. Daniel Perez, who is in line to be the next House Speaker, has also endorsed Redondo in the race.

The qualifying period for HD 118 ended Wednesday. If multiple candidates belonging to the same political party were running, there would have been a Primary Election Oct. 3.

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.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704