From the penthouse rec room of an apartment tower overlooking West Brickell, Miami’s former mayor is going off.
He’s accused his opponent in Tuesday’s election for Miami City Commission of committing perjury and voter fraud. He’s made vague allusions to Chavista money. And he’s promised that if elected, he’ll stop a mysterious group of “influence peddlers” from having the run of things at City Hall.
But surrounded by news cameras, the man who taught Miami how to treat politics as war holds up an attack ad accusing him of “corruption,” because he wants reporters to know that he was attacked first: “I didn’t want to have to do this.”
But he had to. He’s Joe Carollo.
For much of the past 40 years, long before Donald Trump brought his strongman act to the White House, Carollo has proved that tossing bombs at opponents and warring with the media could at least gain you access to Dinner Key. Since the former cop was first elected in 1979 at the age of 24, he’s been arguably the most imposing figure at Miami City Hall, where he famously proved the 1997 mayor’s race had been tainted by voter fraud.
Now, after a 16-year hiatus from campaigning, and at the age of 62, he’s resurrected his career using the same tactics that once elevated him to the heights of power at City Hall. They’ve brought him to the brink of a triumphant return. But can they still put him over the top?