Whatever You Do, Don't Vote for These Disasters in the Florida Primary

Do not vote for Jeff Greene or Daphne Campbell.
Do not vote for Jeff Greene or Daphne Campbell. Financial Times via Wikimedia Commons / Florida House of Representatives
Voting in Miami is, more often than not, the act of choosing the lesser of multiple morons to represent your interests in public office. Sure, some candidates are actually cool, but way more Miami politicians are bald-faced crooks, appalling idiots, outright racists, or a combination thereof.

So, sure, like any legacy newspaper, we could tell you which candidates to vote for — there are, after all, some interesting progressive candidates with cool platforms and with endorsements from activist organizations — but that's not exactly the New Times way. It's much more fun to point out the lunatics who don't deserve to get anywhere near elected office. So with the 2018 primary elections tomorrow, here's a primer on the people you absolutely should not choose.

(And, FYI, because this is the primary, we're not including anyone running unopposed.)

1. Daphne Campbell, Democratic incumbent for state Senate, District 38. There's not much more we can say about Campbell — a multi-time New Times anti-endorsee. Her own former campaign staffers admit she is a pathological liar. She has called the cops on multiple reporters for asking her basic questions. Her voting record is so bad that the Miami-Dade County Democrats accused her of being a crypto-Republican. She once lied about her mother being alive in order to gin up sympathy from voters. She might not live within her district. She might have omitted information from her financial disclosures. Her businesses have been accused of a near-comedic level of mismanagement. Her son went to prison for Medicare fraud. She tried to improve her horrid reputation by releasing a campaign ad ripped from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! She continues to get elected despite having the most red flags of any lawmaker working in Florida. It's your patriotic duty to make sure someone, anyone gets elected instead of Daphne Campbell.

2. Jeff Greene, Democratic candidate for governor. Where Campbell is an inveterate liar, Greene is a billionaire blowhard with the lethal combination of terrible instincts and unlimited money. In 2016, after Donald Trump won the presidency, Greene said on TV that he was behind him "100 percent." Now Greene is using his own Mar-a-Lago membership to take photos at Mar-a-Lago to call Mar-a-Lago a bad place. At first, New Times expected the also-rich former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine to be the race's gaffe-prone rich dude. But Levine stayed on-message for most of the race and didn't scream at reporters, while Greene bowled into the field with the grace and care of Billy Joel drunk-driving a snowmobile. Oh, another important note: Greene got rich with the help of some financial schemes that contributed to the 2008 housing crisis.

3. Bruno Barreiro, GOP congressional candidate for District 27. Barreiro spent his 20-year career as a county commissioner serving as a human deposit box for real-estate developers' money. He pushed the horrendous Marlins Park deal so hard that ex-county Commissioner Katy Sorensen once said the ballpark should be named "Bruno Barreiro Stadium." He is considered such a joke in South Florida politics that the Miami Herald last week endorsed Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera over him. Rodriguez is adamant that she was once abducted by aliens. (More about her in a minute.) The Herald considers her a saner bet for public office than Barreiro.

4. Donna Shalala, Democratic congressional candidate for District 27. Before Shalala entered the CD27 race, there was a huge slate of well-meaning, viable progressive candidates running for Congress in an easily winnable race. Instead, Shalala wants Miamians to look at the groundswell of left-leaning, progressive activism growing across America and flip all of that goodwill the bird. Instead, Shalala's camp wants to convince you that a Clinton administration lackey with ties to a for-profit medical insurance company and a firm that sold subprime loans before the Great Recession is the progressive Americans need in 2018. Don't buy it.

5. Frank White, attorney general candidate. In a perfect world, it would take at least a modicum of integrity and backbone to become Florida's top cop. Current attorney general and Trump minion Pam Bondi does not fit that description. And neither does "constitutional conservative" candidate Frank White, who was busted for lying about his opponent in an attack ad earlier this year — and instead of apologizing, chopped up local TV news footage to make the clip seem like the media found his claim accurate. The Tampa Bay Times last week called the attack the "the most misleading campaign ad so far this year." White now wants Floridians to trust him to put people in jail without lying about that too.

6. Roy Hardemon, incumbent for state House, District 108. Remember when he punched that woman in the face? Also, why do we continue electing members of the Hardemon family? New Times laid out mere weeks ago how a small oligopoly of useless political dynasties runs this town. Time for fresh blood.

7. Michael Grieco, Democratic candidate for state Senate, District 113. Grieco pleaded no contest to criminal campaign-finance violations in his race for Miami Beach Mayor less than a year ago.

8. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, GOP congressional candidate for District 27. The aliens who abducted Rodriguez were allegedly giant, blond beings that resembled Brazil's Christ the Redeemer statue. They sucked her up in a spaceship that runs on quartz energy. They told her thousands of nonhuman skulls were buried in Maltese caves. They said the world's "energy center" is in Africa. In addition to being endorsed by the Miami Herald, Rodriguez has also received a crucial co-sign from the Paradigm Research Group, a pro-UFO lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.

9. Javier Manjarres, Republican congressional candidate for District 22. For years, Palm Beach County's Manjarres ran the local conservative blog the Shark Tank (no relation to the TV show), the central conceit of which was that he was a huge jerk. He was arrested in 1995 on burglary and assault charges, to which he pleaded guilty and received two years of probation. In 2016, he was arrested on attempted murder charges, which were later dropped. During his 2018 race against Ted Deutch, Manjarres has smeared the civil rights organization the Council on American-Islamic Relations for being a "radical Islamist" group. In fact, Manjarres has vomited a river of anti-Muslim bile onto his Shark Tank blog. One of his pet beats for years has been libeling Islam as a religion of hate and violence. He also once called NFL star and civil rights protester Colin Kaepernick a man who "supports racism," whatever that means.

10. Either of the racist, anti-immigrant ghouls duking it out for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

11. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa

The Dade County Commission is full of many confused, scared, old people. Javier Souto, for example, voted against affordable-housing requirements in 2016 but has since then spent quite a lot of time building a Ronald Reagan statue in his district. (Don't vote for him either.) But when it comes to sheer vindictiveness, cruelty, anger towards the poor, and hatred for labor rights, it's hard to top Sosa. She represents the county commission district that houses Miami International Airport — and, due to that fact, she spends a massive amount of time yelling at the labor organizations who represent the thousands of low-wage workers trying to make ends meet by waxing the airport floor or serving pizza to billionaires on the way to their tax-shelter properties in the Cayman Islands. There's a reason the county's labor organizations are supporting her opponent.

Oh, and she voted to support Miami-Dade County's status as an ICE-cooperating, anti-sanctuary city.

12. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz

Speaking of ICE collaborators — Pepe Diaz is also running for reelection! Where Sosa comes across as a scared and confused buffoon when confronted with things she does not understand, like living-wage ordinances, Diaz just yells all the time. At everyone. Policy-wise, both he and Sosa seem equally terrible, but Diaz comes with the added bonus of having avoided jail time for allegedly drunk-driving a motorcycle once in Key West.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.