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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Miami sends cigar maker to state House

oliva.jpgJose Oliva, 38, won a three-way Republican primary on Tuesday to take the seat formerly held by newly-elected Miami-Dade Commissioner Stevie Bovo. No Democrat signed up to run in the Hialeah-based district.

Oliva's race — in which he spent $271,000, including $190,000 of his own money — got heated. When the mud flew, Oliva, owner of the Oliva Cigar Company, was accused of having connections the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Oliva called the accusations "ridiculous."

Oliva joins Democratic Rep. Barbara Watson and Democratic Sen. Oscar Braynon as state lawmakers to win special elections this year. All three are from Miami-Dade County.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 1:30pm]

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