Former Miami state Sen. Daphne CampbellEXPAND
Former Miami state Sen. Daphne Campbell
Florida House of Representatives

Daphne Campbell Files to Run for Office in New District, Claims She Never Violated Residency Law

Former Miami state Sen. Daphne Campbell, one of the most ethically challenged people to hold office in Florida, has filed to run for office once again. She did so in the most characteristically "Daphne" way possible: by kinda-sorta hinting she was not living in the correct district when she last held office — which is a misdemeanor crime.

Campbell used to represent State Senate District 38. Then, in 2018, she lost her Democratic primary race to Jason Pizzo. But state records show that yesterday she filed to run in 2020 for nearby State Senate District 35. (Florida Politics first reported the filing earlier this morning.) State Sen. Oscar Braynon currently occupies the District 35 seat, but he cannot run again due to term limits. State Rep. Shevrin Jones and former state Rep. Cynthia Stafford have also filed to run for the same seat.

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Campbell's filing raises basic questions about which district she really lives in, especially because she's faced similar criticism in the past. Reached by phone today, Campbell stressed she's never violated state residency law. She said she has always lived in the correct district and simply felt "blessed" that losing in 2018 allowed her to move back into her "family home" in District 35. She said that she planned to throw a housewarming party in the next few weeks and that she would invite journalists in order to show off where she was living.

"The night I lost, it was very good to me to go back to my home!" she said in her characteristically booming voice. "I left my home for six years! Left my children for six years! I have a beautiful home, and I'm glad to go back to it."

Of course, in July she was accused of never moving out of that home in the first place. The Florida Constitution requires representatives to live in the districts they represent — normally, it would seem mildly sketchy for a candidate to lose an election in one district and then magically "move" to another part of the state and file to run for office again a few months later. (Former state Rep. Daisy Baez resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge in 2017 after former Miami Herald and current New York Times reporter Patricia Mazzei caught her living outside her district.)

But Campbell's issues are more obvious than that. Last July, the Miami Herald reported that Campbell all but certainly was not living in District 38. Her former chief of staff, Nacivre "Charlie" Charles, told the newspaper Campbell lived outside the boundaries and then added she is a "liar about almost everything." Campbell's family owns a series of (allegedly severely mismanaged) nursing homes, as well as a massive network of South Florida properties.

For what it's worth, Campbell at one point lived in the correct area when she first ran for State House District 108. She was residing in a North Miami home on NE Fourth Avenue at the time. She still owns that property. But in 2011, the state redrew the Legislature's district maps, and Campbell's family property was no longer included in District 108's boundaries. Charles, her former chief of staff, admitted to the Herald that Campbell simply never moved out of the house.

Via phone today, Campbell begged New Times not to mention anything Charles told the Herald last year.

"What's Charlie got to do with this?" she said. "Charlie doesn’t know anything. That’s a lie. That’s a lie. Charlie cannot tell you if I moved or did not move." She added, "Please don’t put anything related to Charlie in this. Please. No one can tell you about where I lived. That was six months ago. August, September, October, November, December! Six months ago. I was in District 38, but the night I lost, I felt I was glad to go back to my beautiful home! I have a beautiful home! What's the problem? You cannot live in your own home? What is the big deal?"

The Herald was ultimately unable to determine exactly which property Campbell was using as a home base — the candidate said she was living rent-free in a North Miami Beach property owned by a woman she oddly referred to as her sister. (Campbell has a weird habit of claiming random people as her family members: Last year, New Times caught her lying about needing to care for a "sick mother" living in her home. In fact, her actual mother had been dead for years, but Campbell dubiously claimed she simply referred to another woman as her mother because of their close relationship.)

But now Campbell is moving back to District 35. She told Florida Politics today: "God gave me an opportunity to go back home and I am home." That comment all but certainly refers to the fact that her longtime alleged home sits, once again, in District 35.

Campbell had previously lied outright to New Times over the phone. After this reporter called her to ask about her long history of financial issues and home foreclosures, she claimed that her name was "Rose" and that she did not know anyone named Daphne Campbell. She also has a habit of calling the cops on critical reporters. Earlier this year, she called the police on two journalists who had simply asked her some tough questions.

Now Campbell says she just wants to return to office to "continue helping people."

"I don’t do nothing wrong," she said. "I don’t steal. I do work. I’m a nurse. I don’t do anything bad. Anything. You always try to picture me in a negative way. It’s not fair."

She then invited New Times to attend a party at her new/old/longtime home in order to "clear up" any residency issues she might have had in the past.

"I knew I was going to get all these questions," she said. "I'm gonna be doing something by my house. Can you come? It will be a get-together. We'll have friends. I'll invite you. You guys could come and be there. That would answer all your questions! Let's start 2019 on a new foot."

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