Daphne CampbellEXPAND
Daphne Campbell

Miami-Dade Democratic Party Suggests Sen. Daphne Campbell Might Secretly Be Republican

On Tuesday, New Times reported on a mysterious, probably illegal mailer sent to Republican voters last week that featured state Sen. Daphne Campbell's name on a list of GOP candidates for office, all paid for by "Your Republican Neighbor," a group that doesn't exist in any state records. That was weird, because Campbell is a Democrat.

Or is she? In an extraordinary letter sent last night to her campaign, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party questions Campbell's ties to Republicans, her oddly conservative voting record, and her history of less-than-stellar ethics. The not-so-subtle question in the letter is clear: Is Campbell secretly a Republican?

The letter also says the party suspects Campbell's campaign is behind the mystery mailer listing her on a slate of other local GOP figures. 

"There is suspicion that your campaign was associated with this mail piece because of your past links to the Republican Party and history of questionable ethics," wrote Miami-Dade Democrats general counsel Steve Simeonidis in a letter sent via email and certified mail to Campbell.

While Campbell's ethical transgressions — like lying about her dead mother to persuade a lobbyist to get the power in her home turned back on ahead of thousands of other customers after Hurricane Irma and taking a designer purse stuffed with a wad of cash from a lobbyist — are well known, her history of assisting Republicans has not seen quite as much scrutiny.

But the letter lays out a convincing case that her ties to the GOP are deep. Among the Democrats' concerns:

* You voted in favor of a bill that severely restricted access to safe abortions.

* You co-sponsored a “bathroom bill,” similar to HB 2 in North Carolina that sought to discriminate against transgender individuals for using a bathroom meant for someone different than their birth gender.

* In 2016 you voted for a Republican over a qualified Democrat to head the Miami delegation because you resented the lack of support from the Democratic Party in [your] re-election effort.

* There are pictures of you celebrating with the chair of the Miami-Dade Republican Party at your primary victory party in 2016. That same night you also posted a picture of you with another Republican nominee.

* You accepted the endorsement of the Christian Family Coalition, a staunch opponent of LGBT rights.

* You have accepted donations from Big Sugar, FPL, and the GEO Group, which go against Miami-Dade DEC resolutions.

Taken as a whole, the mailer suggests that Campbell isn't just a walking ethics violation who regularly embarrasses the Democratic Party but an actual Republican serving under the wrong party.

"This mailer is of particular concern," wrote Simeonidis, "because we are working hard to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. This mail piece is harming our efforts to re-elect Bill Nelson, defeat Carlos Curbelo, and elect a Democratic Governor."

Campbell faces a strong primary challenge this month from attorney Jason Pizzo.

Update 8/10: Campbell issued a statement this morning insisting she had nothing to do with the GOP mailer:

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