First-time candidates spar for Senate seat representing swath of southeast Miami-Dade

Two first-time candidates for public office — Republican Alexis Calatayud and Democrat Janelle Perez — are competing for the open Senate District 38 seat representing a sizable swath of southeast Miami-Dade County.

On the surface, they have more than a few things in common. Both are women of Cuban descent who previously worked as GOP staffers. Both are Florida International University graduates.

Neither faced a Primary challenger on her way to the General Election. And while one represents team red and the other blue, both are green in terms of elected service — something each aims to change with a Nov. 8 victory.

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