Philip Levine will officially begin his Democratic campaign for Florida governor Wednesday with the lack of subtlety that has characterized him over two terms as mayor of Miami Beach.
He will point to his political heroes, Cesar Chavez, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman. Literally point: He’s had them freshly painted in murals inside his cavernous Wynwood campaign headquarters, a building that last year housed Hillary Clinton’s Miami campaign for president.
“Like America’s greatest generation, these heroes devoted their lives — even sacrificed their lives — to help all who would follow,” he plans to say, before sketching out a campaign platform around fighting climate change, raising the minimum wage and investing in public transportation and education to attract more employers.
Levine’s candidacy, nine months after he said he wouldn’t seek another mayoral term, comes as no surprise, as he freely admitted Tuesday in an interview with the Miami Herald, his first as a formal candidate.
“My mom was like, ‘Nooo! Is that why we’re coming tomorrow?’” he said, imitating her sarcasm.
Levine, a 55-year-old multi-millionaire entrepreneur who made his fortune running media companies in the cruise industry, has already put $2.6 million of his own money into his political committee. He said he expects to invest heavily in the campaign. $10 million? “Maybe more,” he said. “Maybe 25. Maybe 20.”
Photo credit: Carl Juste, Miami Herald staff