Race for Florida Senate District 27: Rodrigues vs. Brown

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jackie Winchester
Candidates for State Senate District 27, Rachel Brown (left) and Ray Rodrigues. (Credit: WINK News)

What started off as a tooth and nail fight to win a state Senate seat has turned quiet after the primary.

Republican Ray Rodrigues spent more than half a million dollars in the race. We saw ad after ad before the primary, and now, nothing.

Democratic challenger Rachel Brown is mostly unknown. She ran unopposed in the primary.

Who is she?

“I study environmental engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University,” she said.

The Democratic Party needed a candidate and she stepped up.

“This guy Ray Rodrigues, he has an F rating from the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida. They needed someone to challenge him.”

Now she spends her time making calls, texting, and spraypainting her own signs.

“It’s a lot of work, especially with just me running a very small campaign.”

Her opponent applauds her efforts.

“It’s very difficult to be a first-time candidate to step into the arena, particularly in a race that’s as high profile as a state Senate race,” Rodrigues said.

But he made it clear how different they are on the issues.

“If you think government is the solution to your problem, then you should vote for my opponent, but if you believe that individuals have responsibilities to solve their problems and that government should be there to give a hand up and not a handout, then I’m your candidate,” he said.

“Am I confident? I don’t know. I mean I’m confident in what I’m running on, the issues that I’m talking about. Everyone that I talk to thinks it’s absolutely insane that we don’t have a legal right to clean air and water,” Brown said.

Rodrigues said he’s “Feeling good. You know, we’re counting down the days.”

So far in this race, Rodrigues has spent $550,000 and Brown has spent $7,000.

The winner in this race replaces State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto and represents a large portion of Lee County.

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