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Rodrigues secures party nomination for state Senate seat

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Aug 21, 2020

In a landslide win in the Aug. 18 primary, one candidate moved forward to represent the Republican Party in the November election for the battle over the District 27 seat within the Florida Senate.

Ray Rodrigues garnered 47,935 votes in the party’s primary — 74.84 percent of the total ballots cast. Opponent Heather Fitzenhagen took home 16,115 votes, which made up 25.16 percent of the total.

“I’m very excited,” Rodrigues said. “I think what we saw with the vote tonight was affirmation that the voters believe I’ve been a faithful representative for the conservative values of Southwest Florida.”

He credited Republican voters’ confidence in him to represent them in the Senate.

“I think if you go back and look, our campaign was based upon demonstrating what my voters were on the issues of importance to Lee County,” Rodrigues said when asked what may have set him apart.

He noted that he and Fitzenhagen are representatives in the Florida House.

“We communicated that (my record), and I think the voters responded,” Rodrigues said.

He nows advance to the Nov. 3 General Election to face off against Democrat Rachel Brown.

On the future campaign trail, Rodrigues said his team will not take his opponent lightly.

“We know that the Democrats are energized,” he said. “Our job will be to make sure we turn out the votes for Republican and make sure we’re successful.”

Rodrigues thanked those who supported him.

“I’m very honored to be elected by the voters, and I’m very thankful to my family and my supporters who helped make this possible,” he said.

Fitzenhagen did not return messages seeking comment. She posted the following on Facebook:

“To all the people who stood firmly by my side throughout this race, thank you. Your loyalty and support means the world to me and I am eager to continue serving my community in new ways. Despite the results, I am proud of this campaign. With the Tallahassee swamp against me, I stood my ground because the voters deserve to be the loudest voice in our elections — not dark money or politicians. Nevertheless, we must keep pressing on for what matters most in Florida — clean water, good jobs, and bringing integrity back to Florida politics.”

District 27 consists of part of Lee County.

All election results are unofficial until certified.