Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke, who lost in last Tuesday's mayoral election, lets voters explain why they chose him.
I raised only $12,000 for the 45-day mayoral campaign — 1 percent of top vote-getter Julio Robaina's total. Yet 20,922 voters picked me. That's not bad. Consider, former state Rep. Marcelo Llorente began his campaign two years ago and raised $370,000, yet he finished with 14 percent and I received 11 percent.
I appealed to a diverse group of people in Miami-Dade, not just African-Americans. Here is what some of those voters had to say:
• Rochelle Lopez, 33-year-old Ecuadorian-American high school teacher: "I am tired of the political establishment in Miami-Dade and I wanted a fresh face. Luke is an excellent role model for everyone. The entire community can relate more to him than Carlos Gimenez or Julio Robaina. And I thought his stripper tax was a genius idea." She last voted in 2008 for Barack Obama.
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• Erik Steinhardt, 27-year-old North Miami native and social worker: "I decided to vote for Luke after hearing him speak at the University of Miami mayoral forum. He was the only candidate who was in favor of the residents of Overtown being assured jobs at the new biotechnology campus near Jackson Memorial Hospital." Steinhardt last voted, for Charlie Crist, in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. He voted for Ralph Nader in 2008.
• Rhonda Sims, 42-year-old African-American office manager: "Luke has been in the community, so he knows we need housing, better transit services, and a good relationship with the police. In the past, I've personally dealt with the county commissioners. I can tell they are not there to help because they didn't listen to what my concerns are. I felt Luke would change that." She last voted in 2008 for Obama.
• Sandra Ali, 24-year-old Overtown resident: "Luke came with the truth. He spoke about the African-American politicians who have sold out the black community. No one has been outspoken about the issues in our neighborhoods like Luke has." She last voted in 2008 for Obama.
I thank Rochelle, Erik, Rhonda, Sandra, everyone else who voted for me, and my dedicated band of nonpaid volunteers for helping me make history. It was a great experience being your candidate.