Miguel Díaz de la Portilla

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Miguel Díaz de la Portilla
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-36th).jpg
Member of the Florida Senate
In office
November 2, 2010 – November 8, 2016
Preceded byAlex Díaz de la Portilla
Succeeded byRedistricted
Constituency36th district (2010–2012)
40th district (2012–2016)
Member of the Miami-Dade County Commission from the 11th District
In office
April 20, 1993 – October 17, 2000
Preceded byDistrict established
Succeeded byJoe A. Martinez
Personal details
Born (1963-01-30) January 30, 1963 (age 56)
Miami, Florida
Political partyRepublican
Alma materUniversity of Miami (B.A.) University of Miami Law School (J.D.)
ProfessionAttorney at Arnstein & Lehr LLP

Miguel Díaz de la Portilla (born January 30, 1963) is an attorney and politician from Florida. A Republican, he served in the Florida Senate from 2010 to 2016, representing parts of Miami, Coral Gables, and the surrounding area. Prior to that, he was a member of the Miami-Dade County Commission from 1993 to 2000.

Early life and education[edit]

Díaz de la Portilla's great-grandfather served in the Cuban Senate, while two of his great-uncles served simultaneously in the Cuban House of Representatives. A graduate of Miami’s Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, Díaz de la Portilla went on to earn his bachelor's and law degrees at the University of Miami.

Díaz de la Portilla's two brothers, Alex and Renier, are also Miami-Dade politicians. Alex preceded Miguel in the Florida Senate (2000–2010), and previously served in the Florida House of Representatives (1993–2000). Renier served two stints on the Miami-Dade County School Board (1996–1998 and 2006–2012), and one term in the Florida House (2000–2002).

Diaz de la Portilla has two sons and three daughters. He lives in Coral Gables, Florida with his wife, Elinette Ruiz-Diaz de la Portilla, also a Land Use and Zoning Attorney, and the couple’s two daughters. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Miami-Dade County Commission[edit]

Díaz de la Portilla's career in public service began in 1993 when he was elected to the Miami-Dade County Commission from a new Hispanic-majority district. The district was created after a federal court ruled in 1992 that the county's system of electing its nine commissioners at-large violated the Voting Rights Act, and ordered special elections to elect a new, 13-member commission elected from single-member districts.[1][2]

On the County Commission, Díaz de la Portilla chaired the transportation committee, and also served as the commission's chair. Among his legislative initiatives were the creation of the county's Office of the Inspector General, the establishment of the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority, and reforms to land use policy and the zoning process.[3]

In 2000, Díaz de la Portilla opted to run for Miami-Dade County Mayor rather than re-election. He lost to incumbent Mayor Alex Penelas in the first-round nonpartisan primary, 51.6 to 20.9%.[4][5]

Florida Senate[edit]

In 2010, Díaz de la Portilla was elected to the Florida Senate from the 36th district, which encompassed parts of Miami, Coral Gables, and the surrounding area, without general election opposition. Decennial redistricting renumbered his seat the 37th, and he was re-elected unopposed in 2012 and 2014.

When the Florida Environmental Regulation Commission signed off on controversial limits for toxic compounds that can go into Florida’s surface waters, Díaz de la Portilla called on Governor Scott to do a do-over and reconsider their position.[6]

In 2014, Díaz de la Portilla was downgraded to a "F rating" by the National Rifle Association.[7] On February 19, 2016, USF Executive Director and NRA Past President Marion P. Hammer sent a "Florida Alert!" to USF & NRA Members and Friends regarding de la Portilla's actions.[8] Portilla rejected several key gun bills including HB4001, HB163, and SB68.[9]

When dealing with campus carry, Díaz de la Portilla took meetings with university presidents, college police chiefs, faculty members, and students from around the state. All of them voiced their opposition to the bill.[citation needed] It’s not clear whether the bills would have passed had Díaz de la Portilla allowed them to come up for vote, but there were 26 Republicans and 14 Democrats in the Senate, and approval for either measure would have required only a simple majority. In an interview with Sun Sentinel reporter Dan Sweeney, Díaz de la Portilla stated, "I don't think I'm an anti-gun guy. I'm a pro-common sense guy."[10]

In April 2016, Díaz de la Portilla was recognized nationally by the American Psychiatric Association for championing efforts to address the need to improve mental health services in the Criminal Justice system in the state of Florida.[11]

Court-ordered redistricting in 2015 significantly altered the 37th district, making it more Democratic. Díaz de la Portilla lost re-election in 2016 to Democratic state Representative José Javier Rodríguez in the 2016 general election, 48.9 to 45.6%.[12]

Electoral history[edit]

County elections, 1993-2004[edit]

March 15, 1993 Nonpartisan Primary, Dade County Commission District 11
Candidate Votes %
Joe Garcia 2,917 29.4
Miguel Díaz de la Portilla 1,927 19.4
Pozo 1,748 17.6
Clein 920 9.2
Alvarez 787 7.9
Portela 695 7.0
Gonzalez 418 4.2
Rosello 304 3.1
Marin 192 1.9
Padierne 44 0.4
Total votes 9,952
April 20, 1993 Nonpartisan General Election, Dade County Commission District 11[13]
Candidate Votes %
Miguel Díaz de la Portilla 5,035 51.4
Joe Garcia 4,769 48.6
Total votes 9,804
1996 Nonpartisan General Election, Dade County Commission District 11[14]
Candidate Votes %
Miguel Díaz de la Portilla Unopposed
2000 Nonpartisan Primary, Miami-Dade County Mayor[15]
Candidate Votes %
Alex Penelas 133,686 51.6
Miguel Díaz de la Portilla 54,088 20.9
Jay Love 51,836 20.0
Al Woods 4,497 1.7
Dave Slater 4,095 1.6
Pamela Lynn Cheatham 3,968 1.5
Juan A. Montes 2,846 1.1
Nicholas ‘Nick’ Cappetta 1,606 0.6
Joseph Perea 1,274 0.5
Frank Cervoni 1,008 0.4
Total votes 272,433
2004 Nonpartisan Primary, Miami-Dade County Mayor[16]
Candidate Votes %
Carlos Álvarez 79,902 27.6
Jimmy Morales 58,388 20.1
Maurice Ferré 51,384 17.7
Miguel Díaz de la Portilla 44,319 15.3
Jose Cancela 34,740 12.0
Jay N. Love 12,752 4.4
Dave Slater 5,155 1.8
Deliverance Charles Blue 3,367 1.2
Total votes 290,007

Florida Senate, 2010–2016[edit]

2010 Republican Primary, Florida Senate District 36[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Miguel Díaz de la Portilla 12,970 52.3%
Republican Julio Robaina 10,752 43.3%
Republican J. Nillo 1,092 4.4%
Total votes 24,814
2010 General Election, Florida Senate District 36[18]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Miguel Díaz de la Portilla 58,138 99.9%
write-ins 37 0.1%
Total votes 58,175
2012 General Election, Florida Senate District 40
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Miguel Díaz de la Portilla Unopposed
2014 General Election, Florida Senate District 40
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Miguel Díaz de la Portilla Unopposed
2016 General Election, Florida Senate District 37[19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic José Javier Rodríguez 87,794 48.9%
Republican Alex Díaz de la Portilla 81,938 45.6%
No Party Affiliation Mercedes Christian 9,979 5.6%
Total votes 179,711


  1. ^ San Martin, Nancy (April 21, 1993). "Runoff Vote Completes Power Shift 6 Hispanics, 4 Blacks Dominate Dade Board". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Meek v. Metropolitan Dade County, Fla., 805 F. Supp. 967 (S.D. Fla. 1992)". Justia Law. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  3. ^ "Portilla running on conservative values Miami's Community News". Miami's Community News. 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  4. ^ Alvarado, Francisco (2010-07-29). "Miguel Diaz de la Portilla's Path to the Dark Side Complete". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  5. ^ "Metro-Dade County Elections Dept. Race Results". www.miamidade.gov. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  6. ^ http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2016/07/30/anger-suspicions-remain-after-water-vote/87749528/ Tallahassee Democrat
  7. ^ "NRA PVF". NRA PVF. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  8. ^ "Florida Alert! Republican Senator Explains His Reason for Killing Pro-gun Bills". NRA-ILA Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  9. ^ "Meet the Florida Republican Who Single-Handedly Killed Two of the NRA's Top State Bills". The Trace. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  10. ^ http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-guns-halted-in-senate-20160219-story.html Sun Sentinel
  11. ^ https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/orange-is-the-new-black-among-first-recipients-of-the-apex-awards American Psychiatry Association 2016 Apex Awards
  12. ^ Brill, Sanford. "Florida Department of State - Election Results". results.elections.myflorida.com. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  13. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=669982
  14. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=111935
  15. ^ http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/results/ele00249/RACE029.HTML
  16. ^ http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/results-2004.asp
  17. ^ https://results.elections.myflorida.com/Index.asp?ElectionDate=8/24/2010&DATAMODE=
  18. ^ https://results.elections.myflorida.com/Index.asp?ElectionDate=11/2/2010&DATAMODE=
  19. ^ https://results.elections.myflorida.com/Index.asp?ElectionDate=11/8/2016&DATAMODE=

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