|Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 27th district
November 20, 2012
|Preceded by||Dwayne L. Taylor|
December 14, 1970 |
Dover, New Jersey
Santiago was born in Dover, New Jersey, and joined the United States Army Reserves after graduating from high school. He was discharged four years later and moved to the state of Florida in 1991 after his father-in-law gave him a house in Deltona as a wedding gift. Following his move, Santiago worked in insurance and real estate, and served on the Deltona City Commission from 2003 to 2007.
Florida House of Representatives
In 2012, the legislative districts were redrawn, and incumbent State Representative Dorothy Hukill was unable to seek re-election, creating an open seat in the 27th District, which stretches from Oak Hill to DeBary. Santiago ran in the open seat and faced George Trovato in the Republican primary, whom he easily defeated with 65% of the vote. In the general election, Santiago was initially set to face Dennis Mulder, the Democratic nominee and the former Mayor of Deltona. The Florida Democratic Party was targeting the district due to the fact that it has a substantial registration advantage, but in August, Mulder abruptly dropped out of the race, citing his son's deteriorating health. The Volusia County Democratic Party was forced to find a replacement, eventually voting to nominate their Chairman, Phil Giorno, who previously served as a member of the Volusia County Council, over DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia and former congressional candidate Nicholas Ruiz. Santiago declared, "The race hasn't changed. My campaign has never been about my opponent. It's about getting Florida back on track." Ultimately, Santiago was elected over Giorno, winning his first term in the legislature with 55% of the vote to Giorno's 45%.
- Garcia, Jason (August 31, 2012). "Democratic candidate drops out of state House race". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Harper, Mark (September 6, 2012). "Democrats recommend Giorno for state House race". Daytona Beach News-Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2013.