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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Legislature won't include three Diaz de la Portillas

15

August

Miami's Diaz de la Portilla family was poised for a complete comeback but, on Tuesday, fell short.

While Miguel Diaz de la Portilla walked into a second state Senate term with no opponent, his younger brothers, Alex and Renier faced a fight. After two bitterly fought primaries, the Republican brothers broke even. Alex won. Renier lost.

Alex, the fiesty former state Senator who tried and failed to get the Senate to rework a Senate district to favor him, jumped into the open Little Havana-based House seat against former state Rep. Gus Barriero. Diaz de la Portilla called Barreiro a “pornographer” because he had been fired from a state job after investigators found someone had used his state computer to log into the singles-and-swingers website, Adult Friend Finders.

Barriero supplied his own stream of dirt. Mailers sent by a committee called “Conservatives United,” which supported Barreiro, featured a weeping woman and excerpts of Diaz de la Portilla’s divorce file.

On Tuesday, voters gave Diaz de la Portilla the Republican nomination by 59-41 percent. He faces Democrat Jose Javier Rodriquez in the November election.

The race between Miami Dade School Board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla and opponent Manny Diaz Jr. for the Hialeah-based House District 103 also had its share of fireworks -- especially after the absentee ballot fraud allegations emerged linking key Hialeah political operatives to the suspects.

Diaz enjoyed the support of much of Hialeah's political establishment, including the backing of Miami Dade Commissioner and former state rep Estaban Bovo. When police reported that absentee ballots were dropped off at a post office by a woman who ran Bovo’s Hialeah district office, Diaz's opponents -- namely Renier's brother, Alex -- saw an opening. Even those police had not linked Bovo to the suspect, Alex put out a robocall urging listeners to recall Bovo: “Say no to fraud. Say no to this clown. Say no to Bovo,” the call said.

On Tuesday, voters gave Diaz the nod by a 55-39 percent. He faces marginal opposition in November, with a write-in candidate.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 2:05am]

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