Hialeah Republican: Who I support for president is not important to Florida House race
Add Manny Diaz Jr. to the list of Miami-Dade Republicans who are reluctant or noncommittal about supporting Donald Trump when they have their own political campaigns to win this fall.
During an interview with the Miami Herald's editorial board this morning, Diaz -- an influential state representative from Hialeah -- wouldn't say whether he's voting for Trump in November.
Like some other area Republicans have, Diaz pivoted on the topic by saying he's "not involved in the presidential campaign" and is, instead, focused on his own bid for re-election.
"Either way, I just think we make the mistake too many times of turning these races into a proxy war and it's not," said Diaz, who's in line to be among House leadership next session if he wins his competitive re-election fight against Democratic newcomer Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich.
"I represent the people of District 103 at the state level with state issues," Diaz said. "And it doesn't matter if either one of these people wins the presidency, I'm going to have to do the same job and it's not going to make my job any easier or harder when it comes to representing my community."
The District 103 seat is heavily Hispanic with a moderate voting bloc. The district includes parts of Hialeah, Miramar, Doral, Miami Lakes, Medley and Hialeah Gardens.
"I don't think my vote -- whether I'm voting for Trump or not -- is important in this race," Diaz told the editorial board. "I just think it's important that my constituents know what I'm going to do, where I stand for them and not where I stand on the presidential race. I think it's up to them to make up their mind, clearly, on who they think their best choice for president is -- but my race is different and it has different issues that we need to deal with."
Diaz is one of the House Democrats' prime targets this fall, because if re-elected, he could wield significant power over either education policy or education spending in the 2017 session. An administrator at Doral College, Diaz is a staunch supporter of charter schools and other school-choice policies, which many Democrats argue take resources away from traditional public schools.