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The suspicious campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad. A David Rivera ringer?

Sternad 3-1Political unknown Justin Lamar Sternad is running as a Democrat but sounds awfully like a Republican in his mail pieces, some of which have an immigration-hardliner ring and just so happen to emanate from the same Hialeah outfit that did $100,000 $113,200** worth of work for incumbent Republican Congressman David Rivera in 2010. One Sternad mailer repeats some tough (and likely false) comments from Rivera about another Democratic challenger, Joe Garcia, who lost to the congressman in 2010.

Just how Sternad came on the scene and how the hotel administrator is paying for at least five mail pieces is unclear. His campaign-finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission don't appear complete .

As of his last report on record, filed July 17, Sternad had raised only $11,383 -- $10,878 from himself. Sternad 1-1He spent $10,440 to the state just to qualify to run.

 Because the Aug. 14 primary is so close, the candidates are in the so-called "48-hour reporting period" in which all contributions after July 26 that exceed $1,000 are supposed to be posted. Those reports aren't up yet or don't exist.

Sternard Anti Joe Mail Front"Sternad's campaign has been suspicious from the start.  He is not an active Democrat, does not campaign publicly and has sent racially divisive and misleading mailers," Jeff Garcia, spokesman for Joe Garcia said. "Now Sternad has broken the law and failed to file his campaign reports, this is a serious matter considering how much money he is spending.  Sternad's campaign appears to be little more than another dirty trick by David Rivera."

The Rivera campaign, which refuses to disclose who's specifically making a comment on its behalf, linked a 2010 Republican candidate to Joe Garcia's 2010 campaign, but denied involvement in this race:  "Joe Garcia is obviously becoming unhinged and delusional.  Unlike Garcia's effort to place a fraudulent Tea Party candidate on the ballot in 2010, Congressman Rivera has never met or spoken to Mr. Sternad and knows absolutely nothing about him or his campaign.  Congressman Rivera does not get involved in internal Democratic Party disputes Sternard Anti Joe Mail Backand as always is focused on improving the economy and creating jobs. While obviously Joe Garcia is again trying to distract attention from his personal corruption issues."

Said Sternad in a written statement: "I am running on a pro Obama, pro jobs, pro America platform. I am honored to tell voter's that I am a proud patriotic American. My pro America platform speaks for itself. As my fellow Democratic candidate, Gloria Romero Roses, has stated, Joe Garcia is a political opportunist.  Now he is trying to obscure his repeated failed campaigns with false allegations against me. I look forward to becoming the Democratic nominee on August 14th and ending David Rivera's abysmal tenure in Congress in November. I was the first candidate to file against Rivera because I think I can do a much better job. All of my campaign paperwork is in order. Unlike Joe Garcia, I will continue to campaign on issues voters care about, such as supporting President Obama's Economic agenda and moving America forward from the failed Bush policies of the past."

In addition to repeating Rivera's criticisms of Garcia's divorce, Sternad also appears to be misappropriating President Obama's campaign trademark "O" for his campaign. He might also be trying to persuade unaware voters that he's black, sending out two civil rights-themed mailers that depict Obama and  Martin Luther King. One mailer also features Rep. Dwight Bullard and his mother, whom he hopes to succeed, state Sen. Larcenia Bullard. They have no photos of the lily-white Sternad, who is listing his campaign name as "Lamar Sternad" even though he goes by Justin Sternad in his business life.

Sternad 3-2Sternad, a night employee of South Beach's Wyndham Garden hotel, wouldn't respond to questions about his campaign finance reports or his possible effort to trick voters into believing he's black.

Sternad doesn't answer his cell phone. He doesn't answer his campaign phone, which has a generic standard voice-mail greeting that gives no indication about Sternad or his campaign. He was a no-show two weeks ago at a Miami Herald editorial board interview attended by the other Democratic Rivera challengers: Garcia, Gloria Romero Roses and Gustavo Marin.

All the Democrats agree on one thing: Rivera, who has survived a state investigation and now faces a federal inquiry over his finances, has to go.

Well, one Democrat seems to disagree: Sternad. In a May televised interview with CBS4's Eliott Rodriguez, he refrained from swiping at Rivera:

"It would be pretty pretentious or arrogant of me to start going after David Rivera's jugular like one of the other candidates, Joe Garcia, is doing. He's mudslinging. And I want to get through the primary. And then we'll tackle David when we get to that point. Right now, I see the problem with Joe Garcia is he's a three-time loser. He hasn't won anything. One-two-three, you're out. But in his case I think he thinks one-two-three he's in."

Look at the statement again: He decries mud-slinging and then engages in it -- just not against a prime Democratic target, Rivera.

During that interview, he made no mention of his immigration stance, which sounds markedly out of place for a Democrat running in one of the state's largest agricultural congressional districts that stretches from Kendall to Key West.

"Lamar is as American as Apple Pie," one mailer says. "Lamar Sternad is the only Democratic candidate that was born and raised in the United states. He will advocate for English as our official language. Americans in Florida are being discriminated against by employers who hire illegal immigrants and take jobs away from our law-abiding citizens."

The mailer is inaccurate in that Garcia was born and raised in the United States. Another mailer, attacking Garcia over his divorce, repeats Rivera's criticisms that Garcia left his wife, Aileen, as she had cancer. Divorce records indicate she petitioned for a divorce and, because she has contributed and hosted a fundraiser for him, the separation appears amicable.

You wouldn't know that from the mailer, which asks "what does Joe Garcia have in common with Newt Gingrich and John Edwards? A) They all lost several elections B) They all abandoned their wives during their cancer battles. Answer? Both."

With vicious mailers like that, the political nobody newcomer sure acts like a longtime political hatchet man with a lot to lose.

Sternard Mail Piece #4 Front

**Note: Post was updated.


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This Joe Garcia is such an idiot...And Caputo please, your a democrat, we know that Garcia is your candidate, but please, dont be sooo obvious.

Jimmy Stanton


Jimmy Stanton



Wow... did Joe Garcia really abandon his wife in her time of need like that? I can't even fathom trusting a person like that to represent us in Congress.

Ralph L.J. Garnier

How did Sternad convince people that he's black when he was on CBS news, he look pretty white to me.and i just called that Garcia guy and he can't even speak english, so you know he ain't an american.. That Garcia guy is really stupid, if he doesn't know that 3 strikes means you Out and if this is the case then i don't want him in office lol.....

Ralph L.J. Garnier

How am i suppose to take this article serious when the person who wrote it can't spell.. if you read it you will notice many of misspelled words.


Everyone in these Herald comments does such a fantastic job of being idiots.

As the article stated, Joe's wife just hosted a fundraiser for him, and if you look at his reports she's actually DONATED her own money for him. Does that sound like something someone would do if their husband left them while they had cancer? It's amazing the lies people will believe.

And to anyone that thinks Caputo's in the bag for Joe Garcia... go back and read some more articles from this cycle. It's already amazing enough that Caputo managed to write this article without throwing in some sarcastic remarks about Joe Garcia


Agree, Mike. That especially goes for Ralph. The article doesn't have any misspelled words and it says Sternad's mailers might be trying to trick "unaware" voters that he's black. That means if someone saw the CBS interview, they wouldn't be classified as "unaware."

Alfred, u must've missed this Caputo piece on Democrat Daphne Campbell. http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/07/irs-targets-slaps-lien-on-dem-rep-daphne-campell-who-also-faces-medicaid-fraud-probe.html

Frances Perkins

Seems weird to attack Joe Garcia on a personal matter that is no one's business when there are real concerns about his allegiance to Big Energy and the utilities that have helped fund his prior failed campaigns after he served on commissions regulating those industries.


Garcias ex wife gave him a check cause they have a kid, do u remember? I think having a good relationship with the father of your kids is the right thing to do. Now, the problem here is that he did not support her during her cancer situation and AFTER that, she left him. Thats a FACT either Caputo and Garcia like it or not. Joe Garcia is not a good person.Ill never vote for him no matter what Mr Lamar, Mr Rivera o Mrs Roses say or do. Hes a hypocrite and a coward.


And Mr Caputo, this line that you wrote: "With vicious mailers like that " is sending you back to the journalism class. Its not vicious, its the truth, either you and your candidate , Joe Garcia, like it or not. So be OBJECTIVE. Giving your OPINION its not good for your job. Leave that to the big leagers in journalism who have the caracter and personality to face it and handle it with CARE. Not you. YOU are vicious.

joe blow

LAMAR is a buddy of David Rivera who is being paid by the Rivera campaign! DUH.
While Garcia is no great candidate he is the lesser of two evils.
At least he didn't shake down S FL gambling interests using his MOM, GODMOM and GIRLFRIEND ESTHER NEUFER as bag ladies.
David will be doing the perp walk before the November election. You can take that to the bank!

Michael S

The campaign has descended into pathetic attacks, from Roses and Sternad, it seems to me, and I've looked and read every one mailed to me. The comments here are rather standard partisan comments (MY guy is a saint, YOURS is pure evil...), but ad hominem attacks just lower the bar and does nothing besides try to drive the negatives against the other. Those who attack Garcia, based on false declarations (and outright distortions) need to examine their poor analysis a bit more before going into their next therapy session. (OK, that's a bit snarky on my part, but c'mon folks, get real). This is a distraction from the real issue, and getting the ethically challenged Rivera out of Congress (even Repubs have noted he's in their top ten "worse" category, and very vulnerable).


All of those candidates stink, I'm voting for GUSTAVO MARIN!


look into rivera's relationship with Sternad. this is pretty standard fare: putting up a ghost candidate to draw away votes. most registered Dems are balck or white and not cubans. sternad could win. by the way, primary turnout will be very low, maybe 12%.


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Retain this information that none citizens will be voting in November, if Obama’s Liberals get there way the ‘freeloaders will reward him with their votes. One should also determine for themselves if Obama has a right to a second term. I cannot judge for anybody but myself and I have afforded the time as an Independent and a TEA PARTY associate to read the evidence concerning the birth records of Barack Obama. There are many irregularities to his family backdrop, that has some disquieting concerns for me, but THE PEOPLE should interpret about the facts of the investigation and then vote for that reason.

No Copyright. Tell everybody.

John Lawrence

HUMM... comment from "Joe blow" would this be Joe Garcia?? As much as we are all sick of David Rivera I for a fact would never vote for a loser like Joe Garcia either. And the fact that this reporter is attacking this poor guy Lamar just tells me he is a big time follower of Joe. I had the pleasure of meeting Lamar and his beautiful hispanic wife and let me tell you this guy doesnt have a mean bone in his body. He is a great guy so what if he spoke the truth about Joe? I believe everyone should know what a scum bag this guy and Rivera are. And as for your accusation of Lamar pretending to be black come on really... the guy has been knocking on doors like crazy and attended a parade in the keys. I dont think anyone is blind nor do you have proof that only one mailer was sent to each household of which none had a picture of him do you? I think not! It's funny this guy has done nothing wrong yet Joe is so scared he might lose again and to a regular working man that he has to attack the guy with lies. Lamar you got my vote man dont listen to these fools!

Ralph L.J. Garnier

yo Aaron, when this article was post, there was alot of misspelled words, anyone who read this article yesterday would realize that this article got shorter,it's not the same one.i printed this article last night arround 11:47pm. so don't come at me with this... i ain't stupid.. and to be honest with you, you might be caputo or joe... so let me tell you this homeboy, YOU CHANGE THE ARTICLE...


Actually Ralph, I'm pretty sure you're just stupid.


I noticed Caputo quoting Lamar on mudslinging while Lamar had an interview on CBS 4 well, I guess Caputo is either ignorant or just plain dumb sorry to say. In Sternad's statement
"It would be pretty pretentious or arrogant of me to start going after David Rivera's jugular like one of the other candidates, Joe Garcia, is doing. He's mudslinging. And I want to get through the primary. And then we'll tackle David when we get to that point. Right now, I see the problem with Joe Garcia is he's a three-time loser. He hasn't won anything. One-two-three, you're out. But in his case I think he thinks one-two-three he's in."

Lamar never at any point stated he was not going to speak about David Rivera he states he will "tackle that when it gets to that point" We are only in the primary NOT the general Lamar is doing as he should concentrating on his current opponents not yet on Rivera which will come after he wins the primary. Unlike Joe who thinks he already won and is constantly referring to Rivera as his opponent. Well Joe you haven't won the primary Rivera is not your current opponent Roses, Marin, and Sternad are. Its funny Joe has nothing on Lamar so he goes to his buddy Caputo with lies may I add to defend himself poor loser. lol you suck Garcia!

Ralph L.J. Garnier

People are sure brave online LOL, acting like a little girl on Facebook or something....and you are the stupid one Rick Aka Joe Garcia, Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch Caputo, Aaron, which ever you want to be called. You are stupid for acting like you didn't know this article was changed! Everyone knows you are the same dumb ass, who is posting this. So stop embarrassing yourself. I kind of felt bad for Joe at the beginning, but now I really don't give a ****! Look everyone, this is the type of person Joe is and anyone who he has in his pockets! Honestly, Roses or Lamar should win, so this world won't be affected by pathetic, no honor, liars, sore losers, and people who don't admit when they make a mistake and or wrong ass like you. I’ve said what I need to say, so have fun typing online, cause it's really hurting my feelings, you’re doing a good job (sarcasm). I’m proud of you man. Keep up the good work, stupid clown... go ahead and delete it, I don't care, it just shows you’re a coward..

Ps. I’m really sorry to everyone else who comments on this blog. I don't care who you vote for whether it be Joe, Lamar or Roses; My apologies are to you equally.. I'M OUT!!!!!

Carolina Arango

Okay! Where To Start:
1. Lamar Haven't been hiding, have been in a public parade & knocking on doors to let people one on one met him; and know who he is; he haven't pretended being someone else he is not, if his name is Lamar & you are a closed minded racist ignorant person, I would suggest you to star either traveling ( to learn about cultures, and costumes AND NAMES or buy an encyclopedia!!!)
2. what "WE" need is someone that can actually communicate and let the government know about our problems! But! If the person we elect DOESN'T COMMUNICATE IN ENGLISH!!! how can we expect for the rest of the country to take our problems serious?? (Like in Garcia's case!)
3. This attacks on Lamar reminded me of high school where the bullies, usually ignorant and dumb kids try to make the good guys feel bad or look bad in the eyes of the others!! Don't Worry JOE GARCIA "WE" the people knows that you are afraid for what a regular working man can do, and how far he could get to go; that's why "WE" (the people) is behind Lamar 100% because we are tired of people like you, a bunch of lazy good for nothing politicians.


The one thing that is 100% true about this entire discussion is that Joe Garcia is a three-time loser. Someone else needs to go against Rivera. Joe had his chance and he just isn't good enough. Roses is the only one who has a chance to beat Rivera. If you are Democrat you need to vote for Roses and support her 100%. If you are not a Democrat, well, if you want to send David Rivera back to Washington...but personally, I believe we need to elect people who do not have federal investigations pending due to allegations of corruption.


Mike is the only one who made sense in comments.

Most of the rest of these comments are from hunger.

Brenda McDuffie

Rachel, after watching this segment of your show on Friday, I'm reminded of this same sequence of events that happened in South Carolina when then candidate Jim Demint ran against a very prominent Democrat--Att. Victor Rawls. Rawls had a very good chance of winning until a candidate by the name of Alvin Greene popped up from out of nowhere. He divided the Democratic votes and won the race without running any campaign ads. It was never proven that Demint had anything to do with financing Mr. Greene's campaign, but it was a very suspicious race. After defeating Victor Rawls, Mr. Greene went on to run against Jim Demint, at which time we found out more about Mr. Greene's background. He was an unemployed veteran with no political experience. In my opinion, he was definitley not qualified to run against Jim Demint. In the end, it was a landslide victory for Senator Demint(R). It does make you wonder about the election process and of course about Senator Demint's suspicious win.

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