KEY LARGO – In
today’s vote in the Democratic Primary for District 120 of the Florida
House of Representatives, candidates will be deciding between two young attorneys -
Daniel Horton, age 31, or Kevin Diaz, age 28.
originates from the district, studied law at St. Thomas University School of
Law, and began his campaign for State House in January. Horton was a relatively
more recent addition, beginning in May.
grew up in North Georgia, but attended Florida International University Law
School, referring to himself a member of the “South Florida community."
ran for the District 39 State Senate seat, but switched in May after
discussions with then fellow Democratic candidate Andrew Korge and the
Democratic Party. Korge switched to the District 140 race in June, but Horton
remained in pursuit of the District 120 House seat.
Diaz remained set on his pursuit of the seat, despite the increased pressure
from Horton and the Democratic Party.
Foreman, professor of political science at Barry University, told the Florida Record that this “shopping
around” is quite typical.
“I don’t think the late switch for
Horton matters that much," Foreman said. "I don’t think voters care that much, especially when
it happens earlier in the process."
understand that people are looking for the best way to get elected, so there’s a
certain amount of district shopping that is OK,” said Foreman. He said that this
was particularly the case for Horton and Diaz, who both lack experience in
saying that shopping around is a good thing, I’m just saying that Florida
voters (are) used to it. In this case, Diaz could certainly use that against his
Horton’s "shopping around," Diaz may have an advantage running in his own
district and this is a point he has tried to leverage in his campaign for the
always better off running in your own neighborhood because you have a natural
base of support and presumably know the issues,” said Foreman.
candidates are running on similar platforms, focusing issues such as rising housing
expenses, the environment- including rising sea levels and its impact on
tourism and wildlife- and economic development in the Keys.
120, there is a bit more concern about home prices, employment, and the future
of the Florida Keys. There has been debate over the years about the level of
development that is acceptable. Some
want to maintain the small-town feel of the Florida Keys, but realize they are
so dependent on the tourism and marine industry so they want to do something to
attract more business,” Foreman said.
the efforts of both candidates in the primary, it may prove difficult to
capture the District 120 seat from Republican incumbent Holly Raschein.
both candidates' inexperience may prove detrimental for capturing the seat from
the Republican Party. Their youth may work against them in this race.
the thought that if Horton or Diaz win the seat, what will their influence be
in Tallahassee? It’s going to be hard for a freshman member of the minority
party to get any traction. I think that Raschein has been respected on both
sides of the aisle, and is starting to gain some seniority,” said Foreman.
candidate may have a hard time raising money and overall support for their
House bid due to their lack of political experience.
believes that the Democratic Party will be focusing on more contestable races.
Democrats “have been more focused on State Senate seats in Southern Dade County
including the District 40 race vs. Republican Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, but
also the House race in the 112th District with Democrat Jose Javier
Rodriguez,” said Foreman. “My view from
here is that Democrats are really focused on winning that seat, almost to the
exclusion of helping lesser-known candidates, such as the winner of the District