July 14, 2016

The infamous elections history of Daphne Campbell's campaign manager


Nacivre CharlesThe man managing Democratic state Rep. Daphne Campbell's state Senate campaign is well known in Miami political circles -- but not for a good reason.

Nacivre Charles is three months removed from serving probation for campaign violations related to illegal expenditures. Charles pleaded no contest last June to charges of authorizing illegal campaign expenditures when he ran the 2013 campaign of former North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau.

According to the arrest warrant, Charles approved $12,000 in withdrawals from Tondreau's campaign account days after she won her runoff election in 2013. That's well above the $500 limit.

Read more here: The infamous elections history of Daphne Campbell's campaign manager


July 13, 2016

Tomás Regalado, anti-Trump cable pundit


When MSNBC's Chris Matthews needed someone to put on "Hardball" Monday night to counter a Donald Trump adviser, he picked Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado.

Regalado went on the cable news show in part to talk about police shootings. He touted his city's move to teach officers about "diversity and de-escalation" to reduce the number of killings by cops.

But then Matthews asked Regalado, a Republican in a non-partisan post, about Trump's potential running mate.

"Well, I think it doesn't matter to me, because I'm not supporting Trump," said Regalado, who has said he's not voting for Trump or for Democrat Hillary Clinton. "And the reason I'm not supporting [him] is because I don't think he's a candidate of compassion. A person with compassion does not call people that don't look like him murderers and drug dealers and rapists."

And Regalado kept going. He said he doubts Trump has a project for "law and order," as the presumptive presidential nominee has claimed.

"For the first time, Chris, in 20 years of being elected -- first as the commissioner as six years as a mayor -- I have been getting emails of people telling me, 'Go back to your country,'" said Regalado, who was born in Cuba. "This has never happened to me."

Regalado was cut off by Kellyanne Conway, a pollster and senior Trump adviser. 

"Do you think it was compassionate to cut benefits for the police, mayor?" she said. "A couple of years ago, you cut benefits for the police."

Regalado acknowledged past cuts to the police -- and to himself and other city departments -- while the city was in a financial crunch.

But now, he said, "We're taking care of the police department."

Read a transcript of the show here.

July 12, 2016

Ana Rivas Logan drops out of state Senate race


Former state Rep. Ana Rivas Logan is withdrawing from the tumultuous race for Florida Senate District 40.

In an email to supporters Tuesday, Rivas Logan said she has to take time to care for her parents. She also noted that the Democratic primary in the race changed at the last minute, when challenger Andrew Korge switched districts to run against Rivas Logan and incumbent Sen. Dwight Bullard of Cutler Bay.

"Balancing the care my parents need and what will be in-the-gutter campaign tactics by some in the race, I have chosen to suspend my campaign today knowing that my future in public service is not over," Rivas Logan wrote.

The Miami-Dade County state attorney's office said earlier Tuesday it is investigating Bullard's allegation that Korge offered him a payoff to change districts -- a move that would have left the well-funded Korge running solely against Rivas Logan. Korge, a businessman, is the son of Hillary Clinton friend and fundraiser Chris Korge.

"[T]he race changed at the close of qualifying and this has a major impact on our path forward," Rivas Logan conceded. "I firmly believe that I could win this race, but unfortunately, know all too well that this race could turn to distractions rather than focus on the best ideas on how to deliver a strong education system and fighting to raise the wages for our workforce."

Rivas Logan, a former Miami-Dade school board member, served in the statehouse as a Republican before losing re-election and later switching parties.

Read Rivas Logan's full email below.

Continue reading "Ana Rivas Logan drops out of state Senate race" »

July 11, 2016

Hillary Clinton's 'Hamilton' raffle winner hails from Miami

DEM 2016-Clinton-Hamilton


For one lucky Hillary Clinton fan from Miami, there’s nothing like summer in the city — New York City, that is, with a pair of impossible-to-score tickets to the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

Barbara Garcia won the Clinton campaign’s raffle to watch the Tony Award-winning show as the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate’s guest Tuesday.

Garcia was having dinner at Outback Steakhouse on West Flagler Street and 82nd Avenue Sunday when the campaign called her to tell her she’d won. She’s the raffle’s only winner — and a Cuban-American woman from the nation’s largest swing state, no less.

“I think I kind of screamed,” said Garcia, an anatomy and physiology professor at Doral’s West Coast Nursing University. “I’m a huge supporter of Hillary, and I’m blown away.”

She only entered the online raffle — for two tickets, airfare and hotel — after a friend entered first and told her about it. That friend will be Garcia’s guest at the show.

Clinton has already seen “Hamilton” — twice. Tuesday’s special performance will serve as a fundraiser for her campaign, with the cheapest seats going for $2,700 each — and “premium” seats, with a photo session with Clinton, for a whopping $10,000 a pop. She’s also reportedly tried to get some cast members to perform live later this month at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

There was a chance Garcia wouldn’t make it. She teaches Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. But she didn’t throw away her shot. She couldn’t say no to this.

More here.

Photo credit: Evan Agostini, Invision via AP

July 10, 2016

Trump campaign manager steps in to court Miami Hispanics



After the Dallas police shootings, Donald Trump didn’t make it Friday to Miami’s Versailles Cuban restaurant to reach out in person to Hispanic community leaders.

But his campaign didn’t waste the opportunity of having an assembled group of pastors and business people in town.

Instead of lunch, some of Trump’s guests made their way Friday to Trump National Doral golf resort for a teleconference with Paul Manafort, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s campaign chairman. The half-hour call reassured at least some of Latinos present that Trump’s camp is serious about working with them more closely.

“We were very happy,” said Marilyn Rivera, an evangelical pastor based in North Miami who heads government affairs for the South Florida Hispanic Ministers Association, which has about 250 members. “They did hear us.”

The meeting, first reported by Bloomberg Politics, was led in person by Karen Giorno, Trump’s Florida director; Jennifer Sevilla Korn, the Republican National Committee’s deputy political director, and Helen Aguirre Ferré, the RNC’s Hispanic communications director, who hails from Miami. About 30 people attended in all; the lunch gathering would have been slightly larger and also included some elected politicians.

More here.

Photo credit: Mary Altaffer, Associated Press

Hillary Clinton's Miami landlord? Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine


Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine was the only one to publicly crack a joke Saturday about the limited air conditioning at Hillary Clinton's new Wynwood office. Men sweated through their long-sleeved shirts. Women pulled old-fashioned abanicos out of their handbags. Staff handed out bottles of water.

"Does anybody want me to turn the A/C down?" Levine said shortly after stepping behind a lectern at the opening of Clinton's South Florida headquarters.

He wasn't joking: Levine actually owns the building.

Miami-Dade County property records show the 8,318-square-foot warehouse at 2215 NW 1 Pl. belongs to Baron Wynwood, a corporation registered in Levine's name. He's a Clinton friend, surrogate and rumored candidate for Florida governor in 2018.

The heat "drove me crazy," Levine told the Miami Herald in a text message following Clinton's event. "2 new massive units being installed next week!!! I want it like a refrigerator."

No word on how much the mayor is charging the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate for rent.

July 09, 2016

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook christens Miami field office



Drive by Hillary Clinton’s new South Florida campaign headquarters, and you might miss it.

This being Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, the field office — a massive, big box of a warehouse with tall ceilings and scant air conditioning — is camouflaged by street art, including a towering mural of scantily clad mermaids cavorting underwater, surrounded by coral-reef fish.

“Hillary,” reads a poster on a neighboring wall near the entrance.

In streamed a couple hundred people Saturday morning, ready to inaugurate the office with Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, in town from national headquarters in Brooklyn to rally supporters and sign up volunteers. Clinton’s field organizers, he said, “are the difference between winning or losing here in Florida.”

“President Obama won Florida by less than a point in 2012,” Mook told the sweaty crowd. “We’re going to help Democrats win up and down the ticket.”

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s Florida director, Simone Ward, who works out of Tampa, underscored the importance of the largest swing state in the nation: “We do have a fight in front of us,” she said.

More here.

Donald Trump, South Beach art muse and clown


via @AdamHBeasley

Just because you’re petrified about the future of the Republic doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun.

On Friday night, that fun for Miami Beach artist Huong included harassing tourists with her sidekick for the evening: A Donald Trump clown.

“Mr. Trump” comically badgered those who walked past Huong’s gallery in the 1600 block of Washington Avenue without saying a word. He left the talking to Huong, who peppered each with same question: “Why are you voting for Trump?”

It was entertaining, of course. But it wasn’t Huong’s real goal. She hoped to lure people inside her shop, where Huong’s new, massive Trump-centric exhibit is on display.

On Saturday, Huong will officially introduce the Trump portion of “She Said, He Said — What do you say?” a collection of Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders portraits with some of the candidates’ most famous (and infamous quotes).

And here’s the twist: unlike paintings that hang in a museum, Huong’s artwork is meant to be touched.

She is encouraging the public to add their own take on the reality TV star-turned-politician. The mural doubles as an open message board, where people are urged to jot down their thoughts on Clinton, Trump and Sanders.

The ambitious project is the latest addition to Huong’s Peace Mural initiative, a Miami-based non-profit made up of artists, scholars and peace activists that she created at the turn of the century.

More here.

Photo credit: Matias J. Ocner, Miami Herald staff

July 08, 2016

Trump calls off Miami campaign events in wake of Dallas police shootings

Police Shootings Protests Dallas

@PatriciaMazzei and @DavidJNeal

Donald Trump has called off his two Friday campaign events in Miami in the wake of deadly sniper killings of Dallas police officers, his campaign said.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee planned to hold a roundtable lunch at Versailles Cuban restaurant with high-profile supporters, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. It would have been Rubio’s first campaign event alongside Trump, his former rival.

Trump also canceled a speech at the DoubleTree hotel near Miami International Airport. Both events were intended to introduce Trump in more intimate settings than rallies to local Hispanic politicians, business people and pastors who might be willing to back his candidacy.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who was scheduled to campaign in Pennsylvania with Vice President Joe Biden, postponed her event, also citing the Dallas shootings.

Snipers opened fire on a peaceful protest Thursday night, killing five police officers and wounding seven others. Two civilians were also hurt.

President Barack Obama, speaking from Warsaw, Poland, called the killings a “vicious, calculated, despicable attack on law enforcement.”

More here.

Photo credit: Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

Clinton backer plans news conference to counter Trump lunch in Miami


Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, a prominent local Hillary Clinton backer, has planned a bit of counter-programming Friday during Donald Trump's roundtable lunch.

Levine will hold a news conference across the street from Miami's Versailles Cuban restaurant "to discuss Trump's record of preying on ordinary Americans -- including workers, contractors, small business owners, Trump University students, and others -- to enrich themselves."

That's a message the Clinton camp has been pushing against Trump in South Florida. On Thursday, other surrogates held a photo op in front of a failed Trump-licensed tower in Fort Lauderdale.

Joining Levine will be Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

UPDATE: With Trump canceling his events in the wake of the Dallas police shootings, the Democrats' press conference was also canceled.