Juan Enrique Planas (or should we call him "J.P." Planas?) decides to run against his third cousin, Rep. J.C. Planas, gets sued over the name and now got fired. It's the latest case of some of the odd/hard ball intrigue permeating Miami-Dade's Republican legislative races, which all link to the district of Sen. Alex Villalobos.
Facing former school board member Frank Bolaños, Villalobos is fighting a rear-guard action against a number of clandestine committees (see Ted Bundy). Some groups aren't so clandestine.
Consider The Committee for Florida Justice Reform, backed by state senators J.D. Alexander, Jeff Atwater, Mike Haridopolos and Mike Bennett. It had a fundraiser for Bolaños on July 27, the same day a Villalobos supporter filed a lawsuit against the challenger.
All four senators have been phoning lobbyists with an offer they can't refuse: Give us $10,000 to $100,000, and get your clients to do the same.
"Of course I gave. It's four senators calling me. I have to. And why not? I like these guys, they've been good to my issues, so I support them,'' said one top-flight paid advocate.
The lobbyists and the senators say the committee, founded to limit lawsuits, is setting its sites on Villalobos. "We're going to be a major player,'' said one of the senators. To do that, though, the committee of continuous existence will have to shuffle a little paperwork to form/turn over money to an electioneering communications organization.