David Beckham’s push for a soccer stadium in Miami may be drawing opposition from the local Republican Party.
Nelson Diaz, chairman of the Miami-Dade GOP, said Saturday he’s hearing criticism from local party members who don’t want the county school board to give Beckham a property-tax break by assuming ownership of his planned 30,000-seat home for Major League Soccer.
“The feeling is: We’ve had enough,” said Diaz, a lobbyist with Southern Strategies and volunteer chairman of the county party’s executive committee. “I have not taken a position myself, but I kind of share a little bit of that feeling. We made a bad deal with the Marlins. Are we going to do it again?”
Diaz said the party may invite Beckham’s group to make its pitch in January and then take a position on the privately financed deal.
In heavily Democratic Miami-Dade, there are more independents than Republicans, who make up about 28 percent of the electorate. But the GOP could have outsized influence on the soccer deal since it is slated to be approved in a Miami referendum that would coincide with the March presidential primary that may be a showdown between Miami candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
At issue is Beckham’s pursuit of government ownership for a stadium he and his investors would privately fund. He has offered to spend about $200 million to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer franchise, and pay Miami for a portfolio of city land next to Marlins Park. He wants the school system to take ownership of the stadium, which would shield the facility from paying property taxes.