John Quiñones, former Republican MP from Osceola County, is running for Congress to fight US Democratic Representative Darren Soto in 2024.
“I’m running for Congress because I believe we need to restore sanity in Washington,” Quiñones said in a statement.
“I will fight for values that matter to our families and our community, such as lower taxes, a better education for our children, and safer communities,” he said. “I have a proven track record of fighting for the people of Florida and I promise to be a strong Central Florida voice in Congress.”
Quiñones, 58, from Kissimmee, served in Florida from 2002 to 2007 and was the first Republican of Puerto Rican descent to serve in Tallahassee. He resigned to run for the Osceola County Commission, where he served as chairman, and had already run for Congress in 2012, finishing second in the GOP primary.
“As a proud American born in Puerto Rico, I ask for your support so that we can fix the broken economic policies of the Biden administration and make a difference in the lives of hardworking Florida residents and their families,” Quiñones said.
Soto, the first Puerto Rican congressman elected in Florida, began his political career when he won a special election to succeed Quiñones in 2007.
After serving in the Florida Senate, he was elected to Congress in 2016 and has struggled with a number of challenges, including a fierce Democratic primary against former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in 2018.
District 9, which includes Osceola and parts of southern Orange County, is a Democratic district that, in its current formulation, would vote for President Joe Biden by about 17 points in 2020.
Soto, a repeated national GOP target, won the 2022 district by about 7 points over Republican Scott Moore, his closest winning margin of his races to Congress.
“Because Soto is on a very Democratic party line, the people of Florida are waiting for change,” Delaney Bomar, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee of Congress, said in a statement.
Angel Luis Koba is also running for the Republican Party in district 9. Soto has no main contenders on the list.