A new digital ad highlighting Democratic candidate Raquel Pacheco’s immigrant origins, military service and community work is now circulating to help sway Senate District 36 voters into choosing her over her incumbent Republican opponent.
Titled “Service,” the video tells Pacheco’s story as a child forced to flee from Cuba alone to escape Fidel Castro’s communist regime, her enlistment and service in the Army National Guard — which earned her a historic “Soldier of the Year” nod — and her life now as a single mother and small business owner.
“My journey as an immigrant child, my military service, and my willingness to stand up to dictators and wannabe political tyrants here at home defines who I am,” Pacheco says in the video.
“As a veteran, I’m not afraid to take on tough fights, because that’s what service to our country means. I am running for the state Senate so we can fix a broken political system that gives false hope to working families and denies our children a strong public-school education. Higher insurance premiums, delays in gas tax cuts, divisive agendas — this is what Tallahassee has done for you.
“I’m Raquel Pacheco, and as your state Senator I will change that on Day 1. As a single mom and small business owner, I know what it takes to fight. And I am ready to fight for you.”
A past candidate for the Miami Beach City Commission, Pacheco is the current Chair of the Miami Beach Personnel Board. She filed to run for SD 36 in early June after Democratic Rep. Michael Grieco dropped out of the race complaining of funding woes.
She quickly gained endorsements from Ruth’s List Florida and Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, who leads Senate Victory, the fundraising arm for Democrats in the chamber.
Senate Victory lists Pacheco as one of five “frontline candidates” running this year whose campaigns the organization is prioritizing.
Pacheco faces Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia, a former Deputy Press Secretary under President Donald Trump who won office by just 32 votes in a 2020 race later revealed to involve a “ghost candidate” scheme that has since led to criminal charges.
Miami State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said her office had no evidence Garcia knew of or took part in the plot, and García has denied involvement. Democrats nonetheless called for Garcia to resign and face a Special Election. She did not.
Garcia has attracted sharp criticism this year over baffling statements she’s made about abortion, racism and the LGBTQ community.
“Senate Victory is proud to support Raquel Pacheco because she is the fighter Miami-Dade families need in Tallahassee,” Book said in a statement.
“While radical Republicans are taking away our rights and freedoms, Raquel’s history of service to our county and experience as an immigrant, small business owner, and a single mom makes her a trusted voice who will fight to do what’s right for Miamians — like working to lower costs, create more good-paying jobs, improve access to health care, and protect the environment we all love.”
SD 36 covers a center-east portion of Miami-Dade spanning the lower half of Miami Beach, a large portion of Miami, including the barrier island of Virginia Key, and parts of the cities of Coral Gables and Sweetwater.
Pacheco and Garcia will face off in the General Election on Nov. 8.