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Gloves come off, briefly, in first forum for candidates looking to replace Kendrick Meek

The rowdiest part of Wednesday's South Florida AFL-CIO forum for candidates vying to replace U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek came during the last closing statements of the night, when Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson made jabs at physician and activist Rudy Moise and at North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin.

"Dr. Moise, I was surprised to find that you've only voted four times," said Gibson, a Democrat. "Why are you going to Congress if you've only voted four times?"

Then she criticized Moise for not living in the 17th Congressional District -- which is fine as long as the candidate moves to the area after being elected (we have been duly corrected by a reader: members need not live in their districts). "In the 21st district where you actually live we need another Democrat," Gibson said, referring to the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

She was cheered -- and booed. Moise took her on in his closing statement, resulting in loud applause and chants from his supporters. "I voted for every single election since I was registered to vote," he said. "So I don't know who did the research, but she's totally wrong."

According to the Broward Supervisor of Elections office, Moise, who lives in Miramar, registered to vote as a Democrat in Broward in August 2005. He mentioned on his registration form that he had previously been registered in Miami-Dade. In Broward, Moise voted in four elections -- including the general elections in 2006 and 2008 -- and missed a few smaller elections in between, such as the 2008 primary.

The 17th district, which is heavily Democratic, stretches from Overtown to Pembroke Pines and includes parts of Miramar, but not the area of the city where Moise lives.

Moise's campaign manager said Thursday that Moise had an earlier voting record in Miami-Dade, calling Gibson's jab politics as usual. "For more than 30 years, Rudy's had his business in district 17," Anastasia Apa said. "That's really where all of his patients live."

In addition to Gibson and Moise, 10 other candidates -- only one of them a Republican -- have filed to run to replace Meek. The only white candidate seeking to represent the predominantly black district is Galvin, whom Gibson also poked during her closing.

"He's taken advantage because now we have the most black folks in a race in the country and there's a split," Gibson said. "Scott would win just because [of] the split."

Galvin didn't get a chance to respond Wednesday night, but on Thursday he shrugged off the comment.

"It wasn't worth dignifying," he said. "People don't like negative personal attacks...The electorate has matured."


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Mayor Gibson should learn it is a bit too early for the kind of antics she's pulling. She sounds an awful lot let a child desperately trying to call attention to herself.

So sad.


So funny to think a Mayor of a City of 110,000 residents(the highest ranking Democrat Mayor in Dade County) needs to call attention to herself (in a field of nobody's)...lol...maybe she felt the guy should run in the District he lives in...and too soon to bring it up? so was the AFL-CIO event held to early? Sounds like a politician who speaks her mind...kinda of refreshing to me.

Union Gal

Mayor Gibson was out of line...
Her comments towards Galvin were boarderline racist....

Most of the panelist stayed on course with the issues but Mayor Gibson and Phillip Brutus appeared to use personal attacks in the forum. I think they both lost support, as i spoke to other union members after the forum.

The forum ran a little long, but it was good to hear the candidates.


I was there; Leroy Adam was the only candidate with a clear voice with substance in the crowd of a bunch old politicians looking to make a dynasty.


Moise was pretty good and I was very angry when Shirley said that about Galvin, it was racist and me being a white guy who lives in the district, I felt like she was going after me for living there.

She is a joke and I would never vote for her in a million years.

Phillip J. Brutus

This is Phillip J. Brutus. Whoever stated that Shirley Gibson and I levelled personal attacks must either not have been at the debate or is actively working for an undisclosed candidate. If anything, I was the only one stayed on course and did not jab anyone. Whoever you are, that is a cheap shot and it will not get your candidate elected. Fabricating issues is not the way to win an election.

P. Brutus

Phillip J. Brutus

On the issue of residence, the point is not what the law says. The issue is if you do not live among those you represent, you can't know their issues. And it smacks of opportunism, because, when you live in a different more affluent neighborhood and decide to run in a depressed city where you run a business, it is classic opportunism.

Lastly, the person who talked about old politicians trying to establish a dynasty, for the record, Rudolph Moise is 5 years older than me and to establish or be part of a dynasty, I would have to have a politically powerful family that pushed for me to get elected or I would have to be pushing for my son or daughter to replace me. I served in the State legislature for 6 years and I am making a run for the US Congress because I know I am the better candidate by virtue of my getting several bills passed in a republican Legislature through my skills and ability to work across the aisle. Perhaps you should look up the meaning of the word Dynasty.


And you, Mr Brutus, are way too aggressive. I'm an undecided voter thus far in this election but your tone is unbecoming of a candidate seeking electoral votes. You sound angry, confrontational and in great need of a lesson on humility. A good start could be to speak in an unifying voice in this race where there are four haitian candidates. The haitian vote needs to be consolidated. Otherwise, we will all lose.

Seth Sklarey

It is not necessary to be a resident of the district or even f the state you choose to run in (Note neither Robert Kennedy nor Hillary Clinton were NY residents.) Additionally nobody knows where the district lines will be after the 2012 reapportionment so the issue is relatively moot, although it is a legitimate issue that a person would likely be more knowledgable about a district if he or she lived there, but could be just as informed if he or she worked there or spent a lot of time there. It is for the voters to decide.
As for Scott Galvin part of getting elected is the strategy of where your votes are coming from and where your base is. In this stupid system which eliminated the run-off primary technically a Democrat in this district could get elected with less than 10% of the voters who vote. You let the legislature get away with this travesty, now live with it.
For me this is one of the most interesting races in the country and we are blessed with several good candidates, although most don't have a clue as to congressional history and
and the past.
I am happy the field has attracted so many candidates. Maybe it will increase voter participation and interest.

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