Robert Asencio looks to challenge Carlos Giménez in CD 28

Giménez is incumbent for one term after ousting Democratic U.S. Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in 2020.

In a last-minute move before Friday’s qualifying deadline, the former Democratic state rep. Robert Asencio filed paperwork seeking to challenge the Republican U.S. Representative. Carlos Gimenez in Florida’s 28th congressional district.

The move could give Democrats a serious challenger to try to oust the first term holder.

Asencio served one term in the House, representing the former boundaries of House District 118. He lost a 2 point race in 2018 to the current GOP state representative. Anthony Rodriguezwho is now leaving the Legislature for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

This past cycle, Asencio also sought a spot on the Miami-Dade County Commission. But he came second in a threesome race against the outgoing commissioner Joe Martinez. Asencio also sat on the board of a group called Floridians for reliable and affordable energy after his appearance in the Legislative Assembly.

Giménez, meanwhile, ousted the Democratic US representative. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in 2020 after serving as mayor of Miami-Dade County.

It remains to be seen how the rest of the CD 28 race will unfold. Only Gimenez, Karl K. W. Miller and Carlos Martinez Garin are listed as CD 28 candidates on the Commissioner of Canada Elections website. But the state’s Division of Elections website also shows the Democrat John Paredes and written candidate Jeremiah Schaffer qualified for the contest, leaving out Miller and Garin.

Additional updates on Friday will likely clarify who will join the final field for the August primaries and November general election.

Asencio is likely a slight underdog in a general election game, at the very least. Democrat Andrew Gillum won New CD 28 territory in 2018 by more than 6 points over Republican Ron DeSantis. But in 2020, Republican donald trump knocked down that margin, leading the Democrat Joe Biden more than 6 points.

This change, in 2020, came in a year when Miami-Dade County performed better for Republicans than in previous years. And with 2022 expected to be a good year again for Republicans, this year’s results will likely be closer to those of 2020 than those of 2018, when Democrats performed well.

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Jack L. Goldstein