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DeSantis picks supporter to take Joe Martinez' former Miami-Dade County Commission seat

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Pedro Portal
/
Miami Herald
Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez walks out of the Miami-Dade Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Doral on Aug. 30, 2022, after he surrendered to face criminal charges.

Roberto Gonzalez, a lawyer and former Republican candidate for the Florida House, was named a Miami-Dade County commissioner on Wednesday by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, two months after the governor suspended fellow Republican Joe Martinez from the District 11 seat over the commissioner’s felony arrest.

DeSantis appointed Gonzalez, 35, to Martinez’s seat, a post representing more than 200,000 people in western Miami-Dade. The appointment can last for the length of Martinez’s suspension, which the Florida Senate can end with a vote to restore him to the District 11 seat or remove him permanently. The seat is next up for election in 2024. DeSantis suspended Martinez on Sept. 20.

Earlier this year, Gonzalez competed in the Republican primary for the open District 119 seat in the Florida House. He lost the contest to Juan Carlos Porras but attracted attention from party leaders. Miami-Dade County’s influential law enforcement union, the Police Benevolent Association, endorsed Gonzalez. “I think he will do a good job in the seat,” union president Steadman Stahl said Wednesday afternoon. “He knows the district well.”

While running in the Republican primary, Gonzalez pitched himself as a true conservative, posing with cardboard cutouts of former President Donald Trump and pledging to support the Trump and DeSantis agenda to “oppose the liberal socialist movement.”

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.