As state officials investigate whether a third-party Senate District 37 candidate mounted a legal candidacy, Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia is criticizing her Democratic predecessor for implying the stunt candidacy may have cost Democrats the seat.
Non-party affiliated candidate Alex Rodriguez shares a last name with now-former Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez. Garcia ousted the incumbent by only 34 votes out of more than 215,000 cast following a recount in this year’s SD 37 race.
Alex Rodriguez received more than 6,300 votes. Garcia, however, is pushing back against claims her win was tainted.
“In the 2016 election in Senate District 37 an NPA candidate received 9,979 votes when the former Senator won,” Garcia said, referencing a 2016 race her predecessor won by more than 5,800 votes.
“There was no outrage at the time,” Garcia continued. “What’s the difference now? The difference is he lost. I will not allow this temper tantrum to distract from the important work ahead.”
But further investigation of this year’s race has shown the third-party candidate was renting a home in Palm Beach County. Senate rules state candidates must “be a legal resident and elector of his or her district at the