Former Miami-Dade lawmaker switches political parties, prompting speculation
Former state Rep. Ana Rivas Logan is leaving the Republican Party, she announced Monday.
She plans to register as a Democrat, she said.
"The GOP of today is not the party I joined," said Rivas Logan, who also served on the Miami-Dade School Board. "It's not the party of my parents. It's a party that has been radicalized and held hostage by a group of extremists."
Rivas Logan was welcomed to the party by another Republican-turned-Democrat: gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.
"Bienvenida @anarivaslogan to the Democratic Party!" Crist wrote on Twitter. "Glad you are here my friend."
The Tweet helped fuel speculation Monday morning.
“The bottom line is that the Democrats have a very weak bench,” said Carlos Curbelo, a Miami-Dade School Board member and Republican candidate for U.S. Congress. “If Charlie Crist wanted to choose a Hispanic female to run with him, there is no one else.”
Curbelo added: “I get the sense that this is a very calculated move, and that it is highly likely that she would be chosen.”
Rivas Logan said she could not be considered for the November election. She pointed to a state law saying candidates for partisan posts can run only if they have not been a member of a different political party for 365 days prior to the start of the qualifying period.
But the law is murky, Curbelo noted, because the lieutenant governor runs in tandem with the governor and is not an independent candidate.
Regardless, Rivas Logan said she wouldn't be positioning herself for lieutenant governor.
"Do you really think they need two people who switched parties?" she said. "What kind of political sense would that make?"
A career educator, Rivas Logan served on the Miami-Dade School Board from 2004 to 2010.
She won a seat in the Florida House in 2010. But she lost reelection in 2012, after redistricting drew her into the same Kendall-based district as Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz.
On Monday, Rivas Logan called the Republican Party "a party that attacks women and minorities — and one that asked me, and my former Hispanic Republican colleagues in the Florida legislature, to turn on their own people by supporting extreme anti-immigrant policies."
Pollster and strategist Dario Moreno said Rivas Logan was most likely changing parties to "resurrect herself as a state representative."
"Those seats are becoming more competitive," Moreno said. "The Democrats are running what I consider a competitive candidate against [state Rep. Erik] Fresen. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ana run in a western Miami-Dade district."
As for the likelihood of her being named Crist's running mate?
"A one-term state representative who lost her reelection bid would not be a great choice," Moreno said.