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Florida investigating third-party candidate who ran for state Senate

Florida prosecutors are probing a third-party candidate who ran for state Senate who has the same surname as the Democratic incumbent José Javier Rodríguez.

Jose Javier Rodríguez narrowly lost his seat against his Republican opponent and Latinas for Trump co-founder Ileana Garcia, who won by a razor-thin margin of .02 percent, or just 34 votes, The Washington Post reported.

Shortly after his concession speech, the incumbent released a video expressing alarm regarding the potential influence of third-party candidate Alex Rodriguez, who received 6,300 votes, or 2.96 percent, for the District 37 seat.

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"Democracy requires transparency," José Javier Rodríguez said in the video posted to Facebook. "In order to achieve that, I believe this election requires a full investigation so that those who may have violated the law are held to account and so that such tactics are not used in future elections."

José Javier Rodríguez alleged Alex Rodriguez was a "shadow candidate" and ran to confuse voters and take ballots away from him, which likely contributed to his loss given the closeness of the race.

Alex Rodriguez has hired a lawyer amid the allegations, William Barzee. The attorney declined to comment in a text message to the Post.

Little is known about Alex Rodriguez. The Post reported that the third-party candidate is a onetime mechanic and had no experience in politics prior to his bid for state Senate. He also does not appear to have a campaign website and garnered no donations for his run, according to the newspaper. 

The only money recorded for the candidate is a $2,000 loan from himself and an undisclosed amount from a PAC called Our Florida.

Alex Rodriguez was also previously registered as a Republican before filing his election bid as an independent candidate.

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When a television reporter tracked down Alex Rodriguez, he initially pretended to be someone else, a local ABC affiliate WPLG reported.

The outlet also found evidence of a record of grand theft charges against Alex Rodriguez as well an address in Boca Raton, which is not in the same county or district he was running in. 

The Hill contacted the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office for additional information regarding the probe but did not immediately receive a response.