After three attempts at elective office, Democrat Annette Taddeo finally won Tuesday’s special election to represent Miami-area Florida Senate District 40.
Taddeo, 50, defeated former state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz 51 to 47 percent to fill the seat of Republican Frank Artiles, who resigned in April after using the N-word in front of two black Senate colleagues. She has run for Congress twice and was running mate to Democrat Charlie Crist in his unsuccessful 2014 bid for Florida Governor against Republican incumbent Rick Scott.
For many, Taddeo’s come from behind win — where Republicans led early voting coming into Election Day — was a rebuke of the hate-filled, divisive politics in the Donald Trump era, both in Tallahassee and Washington.
Here are what some leading Democrats, nationally and in Florida, are saying about Taddeo’s victory:
Florida Democratic Party Chair Steven Bittel
“Congratulations to Annette Taddeo on this major victory for Miami-Dade and our entire state. This is a win for all of Florida. Democrats represent 16 of 40 state Senate seats. Annette will head to Tallahassee ready to fight for higher paying jobs, affordable health care and fully funded public schools. Democrats across the state are energized and mobilizing to flip Florida blue. After nearly 20 years of harmful GOP policies, voters are ready for a better deal.
The Florida Democratic Party joined progressive partners like the FDLCC, unions on a community engagement effort that sets a new standard for our Party. We actively engaged both the Latino and African-American communities of SD 40 in neighbor-to-neighbor conversations focused on the issues that matter most. This victory is the first of many, as we are poised to claim the governorship, we are prepared to re-elect Senator Bill Nelson, and we are within striking distance of reaching parity in the upper chamber of the state Legislature.
The FDP has made significant strides in building long-term political and grassroots infrastructure that will help Democrats win critical seats at the local, state and federal level. We are organizing year-round and we will be engaging in neighbor-to-neighbor conversations in every one of our 67 counties to turn Florida blue in 2018 and beyond.”
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post
“This crucial win tonight is a great representation of Democrats’ winning momentum and increased engagement in the Trump era. Annette reached Florida voters because they know that she will fight for them, defending school funding and protecting natural resources along with standing up for immigrant families and protecting access to health care. The DLCC worked with legislative leaders and our progressive allies to ensure Annette’s campaign had the resources and support needed to win. We are proud of the DLCC’s work to deliver this special election win and help put Democrats on track to challenge Florida’s Republican trifecta by taking back the state Senate in 2018.”
Senate Democratic Leader-Designate Jeff Clemens
“I am thrilled to congratulate Annette Taddeo on her great victory. The Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee committed to righting a wrong in this district and electing a proven champion who will join our caucus to fight for an agenda that puts working families first.”
Florida House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz, a DLCC board member
“Senator-elect Taddeo’s win tonight is not only a step forward for Floridians, it is a step forward for Florida Democrats looking to bring progressive change to Tallahassee and prevent more harmful Republican gerrymandering in 2020.”
Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, a Democratic candidate for Florida Governor
“Annette Taddeo ran and won on the values that unite us as Floridians — renewing public education, defending our clean land and water, and building an economy that works for every family. She will represent every member of Miami’s diverse community,” Graham said. “I look forward to working with her to build a brighter future for the state we love.”
Miami Beach commissioner and congressional candidate Kristen Rosen Gonzalez
“Frank Artiles’ resignation in April 2017, after making insulting racial remarks, set off a chain of events that ended last night. Annette Taddeo, after an often bruising campaign, made South Florida political history by turning a seat held by a bedrock Republican into a Democratic seat, beating State Representative Jose Felix Diaz.
“Annette will be taking not just the best wishes of South Florida voters to Tallahassee, but the hopes of Florida Democratic women, as well.
“We need more smart women in positions of power.
“Not just in Tallahassee, but in Washington, too.”