This week, we begin looking at some of the state’s most interesting swing seats that could affect the balance of power in the Florida Legislature. One of the most interesting contests is in House District 103. Held for years by now State Senator Manny Diaz Jr., last cycle the seat moved left as Cindy Polo defeated the Republican nominee in what some would term an upset. Many locals credit that to Polo’s relentless work ethic and her willingness to aggressively meet with anyone and anywhere. The question is whether the approachability and her work ethic will pay off this time.
Polo is receiving a strong challenge from Tom Fabricio, a Republican with an equally strong work ethic who has already built a reputation for street politics second to none. His social media page lights up every day with new images and reports of door-to-door campaigning. From the sidelines, this appears to be the Miami street battle well worth the popcorn and coke for all of us watching.
Fabricio is a business attorney, volunteer with at-risk youth, husband, and father of two girls. His reasons for running are simple as he points to family and community in his advertising and his disappointment over Polo’s outspoken support for the radical left. Fabricio’s disappointment does seem to have some merit. From reviewing Polo’s Facebook page and campaign materials. It is clear that she views herself as an up and coming new brand liberal, ready to push the envelope on a big government solution to every problem. Her aggressiveness and outspoken attacks on Republicans certainly make her look more like her fellow Broward County legislators than someone who represents conservative bastions like Hialeah and Miami Lakes.
In the legislature, Polo has adopted somewhat of a mini-me Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez persona. She has been willing to mix it up, challenge leadership at every turn, and even vote against key measures for her own constituents in political protest. In the last legislative session, she even voted against the budget, leaving her open to allegations that she put her own political ambitions and vitriol above that of the interests of her constituents. Her agenda-based governance style netted a price. Not one bill she sponsored in the last legislative session saw the light of day. Every bill died.
What does this all mean for Fabricio? Maybe nothing. Maybe Polo goes on to win re-election and uses her constituents as a springboard for a future as a rising liberal radical star. However, from our interviews with some Democrats in Miami who wished to remain off the record, they worry that Polo’s agenda is self-centered and untrustworthy and that her antics have put retaining the seat at risk for Democrats.
If Fabricio has a shot, it is due 100% to Polo’s harsh approach.
From our vantage point, if you actually take the time to examine the bills that she filed that stepped on the constitution, individual rights, and were part of an attempt to force-feed a liberal agenda, we rate her as Florida’s worst incumbent legislator, and we rate House District 103 as the most interesting swing seat contest in the state.
We will be rating other legislative contests in the subsequent days.