November 13, 2019

FLORIDA KEYS — With less than a year to go before the November 2020 election, Florida Legislature candidates are ramping up their campaigns to represent Monroe County.

With both state Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, and state Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, unable to seek re-election under Florida’s eight-year term limit, the two eventual winners on Nov. 3, 2020, will be new.

As of Nov. 11, four of five announced candidates for Raschein’s District 120 seat, which includes parts of south Miami-Dade County, registered as Republicans. Three of those four GOP candidates who seek to fill Raschein’s seat filed as residents of Monroe County.

The most recent Republican filing on Nov. 4 was by Jose F. Peixoto of Key Largo. Peixoto previously has made unsuccessful runs for two U.S. Congress and a seat on the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District board. He had not filed a campaign contribution report as of earlier this week.

James V. Mooney Jr., better known as Islamorada Village Councilman Jim Mooney, filed for District 120 in August. A real-estate professional, Mooney had raised $19,780 as of his most recent campaign report.

Rhonda Rebman Lopez, an Ocean Reef Club resident, filed Sept. 6 and received $100,875 in contributions in a period from Sept. 9 to Oct. 31. Rebman Lopez in 2018 ran for the Florida House District 115 seat in Miami-Dade County, finishing third in a four-way Republican primary.

Alexandria Suarez, an attorney working in Homestead, joined District 120’s GOP primary in late May after stepping away from a planned campaign for Flores’ Senate District 39 seat. Her campaign contributions totaled $28,974 as of Sept. 30.

Roy David Walker, a Democrat living in Homestead, announced his entry to the District 120 race in a Nov. 8 online post.

Walker is a self-employed biologist who finished second in the three-way 2018 Democratic primary for Florida Secretary of Agriculture. Then a Broward County resident, Walker lost to Nikki Fried who went on to become the state’s first woman to serve as Secretary of Agriculture.

Walker had not filed a campaign report as of earlier this week.

Florida Senate

Two Republicans and one Democrat have put in their papers to run for state Senate District 39, which includes all of Monroe County along with southern and western areas of Miami-Dade.

Two of the Senate candidates, Republican Ana Maria Rodriguez and Democrat Javier E. Fernandez, were elected to the Florida House in 2018. Rodriguez represents District 105 while Fernandez holds the District 114 seat.

Rodriguez, a Doral resident, has raised $203,719 as of Sept. 30, and Fernandez of Miami had raised $85,719.

Also seeking the Republican nomination is Angie Chirino of Miami, who launched her campaign in April. Chirino, a singer, had raised $24,454 as of July 31 but as of earlier this week had not reported any additional contributions since.

In 2016, Flores won 54.2 percent of the 179,460 votes cast in the Senate District 39 race.

Candidates for the Florida House and Senate can file to seek election until June 12, 2020. Primary elections for state offices will be held Aug. 18.

kwadlow@keysnews.com