Norman Braman was no match for the forces backing Miami-Dade County commissioners Bruno Barreiro, Audrey Edmonson, Barbara Jordan, and Dennis Moss. The billionaire car dealership mogul's slate of Luis Garcia, Alison Austin, Shirley Gibson and Alice Pena produced an epic fail. All four candidates, who benefited from $397,000 worth of print, radio and TV ads bought by Braman, lost by double digits. The closest was Garcia, who lost to Barreiro by 18 points.
UPDATE: Well, it seems Garcia may have sneaked his way into a run off with Barreiro -- giving Braman one last shot at saving some face. Late last night, the elections department finished counting provisional and absentee ballots that arrived on Election Day, which indicated Barreiro missed winning an outright majority by just 11 votes.
Heck, Luther Campbell had a better night picking winners than Braman. It goes to show that simply throwing money at a bunch of candidates is not enough to win an election.
Entering election day, political action committees supporting the incumbents and county unions did a remarkable job hammering Braman as "the puppeteer" who would control Garcia, Austin, Gibson and Pena had they been elected. For instance, the night before election day, local TV stations aired an ad that depicted Braman's candidates as marionettes while the auto magnate controlled their strings behind a cackling soundtrack.
The ad was produced by Miami-Dade Citizens For Real Reform, a political action committee that raised a paltry $94,600 from people and companies that do business with the county, including $20,000 from Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. One of Braman's attack points was that Barreiro, Edmonson, Jordan and Moss voted in favor of the team's $634 million ball park.
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Braman simply did not have a campaign manager with the necessary experience to overcome the well-oiled political machines that win district races. Consider that Edmonson has been forced into a run-off with public defender and political newcomer Keon Hardemon, a candidate who benefited from the expertise of his aunt and uncle, Barbara and Billy, who have a long history of running campaigns in Liberty City. Braman's candidate Austin came in third.
Braman spent all his money on ads and phone banks, according to the campaign reports submitted by his two political groups, Change for Miami-Dade Now and Vote For A New Miami-Dade. As the results show, elections are won by absentee ballot brokers and getting people to the polls during early voting.
Then again, Braman couldn't even be bothered to be in Miami for the election. According to the Miami Herald, Car Daddy Warbucks watched the results aboard his 175-foot yacht The Kisses while vacationing in Europe.