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Miami Dems Want to Take the Fight to GOP House Members

June 3, 2014 - 6:00pm
Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, the chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Democrats, is singing out of a different hymn book than most of her partys leaders across Florida.

Allison Tant cant find a major candidate to run against Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam. Right now, theres only one major Democratic challenger running against a sitting Florida senator. Few Republicans in the Florida House are facing credible Democrats.

But Taddeo-Goldstein is trying to put up a fight in South Florida. On Tuesday, she announced every Miami-Dade Republican in the Florida House would face competition this year. Seven Democrats filed to run for seats currently held by Republicans on Tuesday -- with some of them offering somewhat credible threats to sitting House members.

House District 105: Carlos Pereira filed to run on Tuesday against Carlos Trujillo. Pereira is well-known in the area for his work in the community and he leads the Venezuelan-American Democratic Club. But this is a Republican district where Rick Scott beat Alex Sink by 10 percent back in 2010 and the GOP has an advantage over Democrats when it comes to registered voters. Trujillo had raised $104,525 by the end of April but hes burning through his cash, already spending $76,250. Still, hes a proven fundraiser and this is a pretty strong GOP district. Trujillo should have the edge here.

House District 110: Democrat Nelson Milian is running against Jose Oliva. Milian has an interesting background in technology and business, even launching a summer camp to tie technology to the arts. But that wont be enough here where Scott beat Sink by 20 percent and Oliva is sitting on $160,000. Milian is a major underdog against Oliva and this one seems out of reach for the Democrats.

House District 111: Democrats are turning to former prosecutor and Marine vet Mariano Corcilli for the seat being vacated by term-limited Eddy Gonzalez. Corcilli has a strong resume but this is a district where Scott ran over Sink by 30 percent and Republicans have a heavy advantage in registration over the Democrats. Miami-Dade Republican Party Vice Chair Bryan Avila is the favorite here over Anthony Alexander and Alberto Amador in the primary. Even with a primary, Republicans have a strong advantage here.

House District 115: On paper this should be a competitive race as Army vet Kristopher Decossard runs as a Democrat against Michael Bileca. Sink edged Scott here despite there being more Republicans here than Democrats. Bileca has only raised $67,000 and has relied on $45,000 in loans. But hes kept his burn rate low, spending less than $11,650. If Decossard can raise some funds, he can make a race of this, but Bileca is the favorite here.

House District 116: This race will garner the headlines even if it doesnt look that competitive. Juan Cuba is the executive director of the Miami-Dade Democrats and was a key leader in South Florida for Barack Obamas campaign. Cuba is taking on rising star Jose Felix Diaz and that is a tough assignment. Scott beat Sink here by 20 percent and Republicans have a large registration advantage over Democrats. With Diaz sitting on more than $106,000, he has a clear edge no matter what Cubas background includes.

House District 118: Omar Rivero knows how to use online outreach for politics, creating an online community with more than 300,000 activists. But Frank Artiles wont be an easy out. The Miami Republican has around $76,000 on hand and Republicans have a solid edge over Democrats in party registrations. Rivero will be hard-pressed to make a fight here.

House District 119: Teacher Milagro Ruiz has an uphill climb against Jeanette Nunez in this solid Republican district. With more than $147,000 already in the bank, Nunez has a big head start in the money chase in this district where Scott beat Sink by 6 percent. Ruiz has a slim chance at best of beating Nunez.

To their credit, the Democrats seem to understand the challenge they have on their hands.

"We know this will be an uphill battle, but it's a necessary one, Cuba said. We couldn't be more excited to offer voters of Miami-Dade a better choice than the status quo -- and to hold the Republican incumbents accountable for their lack of leadership on issues important to their constituents.

But at least the Miami Democrats are keeping the Republicans occupied. The same cant be said of other Democrats across Florida.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

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