PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – In Miami-Dade County, after recounts by hand and machine, Republican Ileana Garcia became the new state Senator from District 37.
That’s Southwest Miami-Dade along the coast to Downtown Miami, and the lower part of Miami Beach.
Garcia beat incumbent Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez by just 34 votes, but there was a fly in the ointment. A third candidate in the race, an independent with the same last name as the incumbent, received more than 6300 votes without campaigning, fund-raising or putting out a platform. His campaign never even answered the phone.
Looking into how that happened, Local 10 found evidence suggesting that candidate was a plant, a shill financed by dark money. And more than that, one of several in state Senate races that disrupted Democratic candidates' chances.
This Week in South Florida wanted to get some input on that, as well as other big stories from the week, on our roundtable.
Rafael Yaniz is a political analyst and attorney from Miami who usually comes at things from the center-right perspective.
Burnadette Norris-Weeks is an attorney in Fort Lauderdale and founder of the Women of Color Empowerment Institute, and she’s a Democrat.
They joined This Week in South Florida with hosts Glenna Milberg and Michael Putney, and the discussion can be seen at the top of this page.