Florida Democrats are demanding a special election for a state Senate seat after a Republican was accused of tampering with last year’s race that could have led to the GOP race.
Democrats are calling on State Sen. Ileana Garcia (right) to resign and for officials to set a special election after former Republican state Sen. Frank Artiles was arrested Thursday for allegedly planting a shadow candidate to defeat the Democratic incumbent. José Javier Rodríguez in Senate District 37 of the state.
“His victory is clearly tainted and will always overshadow his service in the Senate, not to mention the entire Florida Senate. For the sake of justice and the sanctity of our Democratic electoral process, we ask Senator Garcia to resign immediately and to hold a special fair election as soon as possible, ”Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Díaz said at a conference press on Friday.
“This election in Senate District 37 was rigged and decided by 32 votes. So it’s clear that the manipulation had an impact on the outcome of the election, ”added State Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer. “The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen again is to redo the election in SD 37 and make sure we have a fair election and pass laws that protect the integrity of our elections.”
The remarks come a day after Miami-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle brought charges against Artiles, who resigned from the Florida state senate in 2017 after using a racial slur in a conversation with black colleagues.
Artiles allegedly paid Alex Rodríguez $ 44,000 to run in the election, which also featured the incumbent state senator and Garcia. Investigators allege that Artiles put Alex Rodríguez in the race in the hope that voters would confuse his last name identical to that of José Javier Rodríguez and divert votes from the Democratic candidate.
The controversy arises as both parties are still grappling with the ramifications of the 2020 presidential election, which the former President TrumpDonald Trump Advocates Demand Transparency at Biden’s Migrant Facility Memo: America Faces Long War with Extremism NYPD Investigates Anti-Asian Incident Against Teen MORE and other Republicans allege that he was affected by the fraud despite failing to present evidence to support his claims.