Miami Politics

Inside The Campaign That Brought Down Daphne Campbell

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UPDATED: August 29, 2018- Jason Pizzo defeated Daphne Campbell 54% to 46%.

Originally published: 5:00 AM, August 28, 2018

-Today, in northern Miami-Dade County today, voters go to the polls to decide whether Senator Daphne Campbell will get another four years in office.

-Campbell is one of the most controversial politicians in the state and is fending off a strong challenge from former prosecutor Jason Pizzo.

-An historic figure, Campbell is the first ever Haitian-American elected to the State Senate, but she has also been dogged with serious questions about her lack of ethics and is often at odds with her party on important issues.

-She’s been called a “bigot” by fellow Democrat, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and is suspected to be a secret Republican by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.

-But many believe that she is still the favorite to win today because of her iconic position in the Haitian community. 

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Jeff Greene Is Helping Daphne Campbell In The Final Week Of The Campaign

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Updated: 2:27 PM EST- August 22, 2018

–Jeff Greene, a Democratic candidate for Governor has been assisting Senator Daphne Campbell’s struggling campaign in the final days before the August 28th primary election.

-Greene, through his PAC, paid for a slate that endorses Campbell and a series of other local and statewide Democratic candidates. 

–Greene’s action has drawn harsh criticism from many in Miami-Dade Democratic politics.

——–

Jeff Greene has promised to use his immense wealth to help Democrats beat Republicans up and down the ballot in Florida this year.

But he’s also helping one controversial incumbent Democrat fend off a fellow party member  in a high profile state senate race.

Flyers that claim to be the “Miami-Dade Democratic Slate” feature a headshot of Greene next to popular Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.

Below Greene on the endorsement card?

Embattled Senator Daphne Campbell.

“Shame on Jeff Greene that he would do something like this,” Sears said.

Campaign workers for Senator Campbell have been seen passing out the flyers in Miami Shores and Biscayne Park by local community members and by a RISE NEWS reporter at the North Miami Public Library early vote location.

The “Miami-Dade Democratic Slate” flyer was paid for by Greene’s “Florida Defense Fund”, a PAC he set up at the end of July according to public records on the state election website.

And according to a source inside the Greene campaign, Campbell’s ex-husband and current campaign advisor Hubert Campbell is now working as a field organizer for the Palm Beach billionaire.

Greene campaign spokesperson Claire VanSusteren said that Greene has not endorsed a candidate in the race between Campbell and former Miami-Dade assistant State Attorney Jason Pizzo.

VanSusteren also said Greene has never given money to Campbell or Pizzo.

Tangela Sears is a well-known Miami politico and anti-gun violence activist who has strong ties to Congresswoman Wilson.

Sears blasted Greene for paying for the flyer and using Wilson’s picture on it.

“It’s got the Congresswoman’s photo on that to mislead the voters,” Sears told RISE NEWS in a phone interview. “We know that the congresswoman has endorsed Andrew Gillum [in the governor’s race].”

Sears said that this was a political trick that has a long history in Miami politics but that it distracts from real issues facing the community.

“Shame on Jeff Greene that he would do something like this,” Sears said.

She also had choice words for Senator Campbell.

“I guess Daphne Campbell, being desperate, accepted the money,” Sears said. “Campbell will work with any candidate. Loyalty really doesn’t matter to her.”

Senator Campbell is in the middle of a brutal re-election fight with Pizzo.

Slates are common in Miami politics. This one is supportive of Andrew Gillum’s campaign for governor and is paid for by Miami politico Willis Howard. It was being passed out by Gillum paid staff at the North Miami Public Library early vote site.

Though she has never lost an election and has been in elected office since 2010, a recent poll shows that Pizzo has a solid lead in the race.

Campbell has had a tough year.

After Hurricane Irma, she was caught texting an FPL lobbyist trying to get him to turn on the power at her home, she has had to face questions about whether she has ever lived in the district that she represents in Tallahassee and has called the police on reporters, twice. She has also confirmed her continued opposition to gay adoption and abortion rights, two stances that many Democrats feel is in direct contradiction to the values of the party.

 “They matter,” Hardemon said. “When those slates get in the hands of older people, who vote right down the line.”

The Greene campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

A source connected to the Greene campaign told RISE NEWS that Hubert Campbell- Senator Campbell’s ex-husband is working for Greene as a field organizer.

A Campbell paid staffer holding the Jeff Greene PAC flyer under her left arm while working the North Miami Public Library early vote site. Photo: RISE NEWS

A source connected to the Greene campaign said that the flyer was generated by local community organizers and paid for by the PAC.

The Greene campaign source said that there is no “suggested or explicit endorsement on those cards”.

State Representative Roy Hardemon said that he wasn’t mad at Greene for paying for the flyer that endorses one of his primary opponents- Joseph Beauvil.

“He’s trying to win the race,” Hardemon said of Greene in a phone call with RISE NEWS. “Typical politics.”

Beauvil told RISE NEWS that he had nothing to do with the flyer.

Despite not being angry at Greene, Hardemon does believe that the slate like the one paid for by the gubernatorial candidate’s PAC, does have a serious impact in elections.

“They matter,” Hardemon said. “When those slates get in the hands of older people, who vote right down the line.”

Senator Campbell’s opponent Jason Pizzo blasted Greene for getting involved in the race.

“I thought Jeff Greene was directing resources to competitive state races to help Democrats, not to indirectly fund one against another,” Pizzo said in a statement to RISE NEWS. “And frankly, funding a slate card with someone who votes against fundamental democratic values, makes this even more confusing.”

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Interview: Jeff Greene Says He’s A “Good Billionaire” Who Can Bring Democrats Back To Power In Florida

Interview: Jeff Greene Says He’s A “Good Billionaire” Who Can Bring Democrats Back To Power In Florida

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–”There’s good billionaire and bad billionaires,” Jeff Greene told RISE NEWS. “I hope others will think of me as a good billionaire.”

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The Skateboarding Mayor Of Surfside Knows That His Town Is Doomed

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–The tiny coastal town of Surfside is under dire threat from the impacts of sea level rise.

-Surfside’s Mayor, Daniel Dietch, knows this and thinks that it is likely that the town will eventually become uninhabitable.

-But that doesn’t mean that the town is sinking quietly into the sea.

-Dietch and the town council punch above their weight in drawing attention to the crisis.

-And Dietch cuts a unique figure as he skateboards around the town in his suit and tie.

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Florida Senator Knew I Was A Journalist Doing My Job. She Called The Police Anyway

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Published: 8-9-18 at 4:25 PM EST

–State Senator Daphne Campbell (D-North Miami Beach) called the police on a RISE NEWS reporter for filming her during a Miami Shores Village Council meeting. 

–A police report shows that Senator Campbell knew that the man filming her in the public place was a reporter. 

–Campbell also called the police on a Miami Herald reporter earlier today while she was debating her primary opponent Jason Pizzo in North Miami Beach. 

–The Executive Director of the Radio Television Digital News Association- an advocacy group for broadcast stations and online publications, blasted Campbell for trying to intimidate RISE NEWS. 

——— 

Statement from RISE NEWS Publisher Rich Robinson:

“State Senator Daphne Campbell called the police on me for committing an act of journalism.

While we’ve known that this took place for over three months, we only received a copy of the police report today.

Coincidentally, Senator Campbell also called the police on Miami Herald reporter Sarah Blaskey ‏today.

In both cases, police did not take Senator Campbell’s claims to be credible.

On May 1, 2018, I attended the tail-end of a public meeting of the Miami Shores Village Council.

I knew that Senator Campbell would be there and I wanted to get some more b-roll shots of her in action in the community for possible use in future stories.

I filmed Senator Campbell interacting with members of the Miami Shores council and filmed her as she left the building.

I also filmed her while she was driven away in a car.

All the while, I stayed on a public sidewalk.

I’ve been trained to report the facts and hold the powerful to account.

I’m allowed to do all of this thanks to our nation’s First Amendment.

Senator Campbell doesn’t seem familiar with the protections for members of the press laid out in the Constitution, so she called the police.

The police didn’t seem to take her claims seriously.

Sen Campbell Police Report by Rich on Scribd

They never contacted me or reached out to RISE NEWS for information on this matter.

I’m a journalist who is working hard to create another way for South Florida to receive its news in this rapidly-changing media world.

I’ve been trained to report the facts and hold the powerful to account.

But I’ve also been trained to follow the law while doing it.

In 2015, I was one of a handful of young journalists to have been invited to the University of South Carolina’s Media Law School.

During that training program, we had a crash course in how to aggressively report while remaining on the right side of the law.

Like all trustworthy news organizations, RISE NEWS hems to a set of ethical guidelines laid out by trade organizations.

We follow those laid out by the Radio Television Digital News Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the Associated Press.

We will follow the law.

But we will not be silenced.”

——— 

Statement from Radio Television Digital News Association Executive Director Dan Shelley:

“The fact that any elected official would summon the police simply because a journalist is performing his or her lawful, constitutionally-guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth is as reprehensible as it is absurd.

While I certainly can’t read Sen. Campbell’s mind, it’s hard to draw any conclusion other than her calling the police on RISE NEWS Publisher Rich Robinson was direct retribution for previous stories RISE had responsibly reported regarding her admitted attempts to seek special treatment from Florida Power & Light in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma last year.

One of the most important jobs of journalists is to hold the powerful accountable.

We commend RISE and Robinson for doing just that in September 2017, and defend their right – no, their obligation – to report on the public activities of Sen. Campbell and other elected officials in the communities they serve.”

——— 

For third-party reporting on what happened, read this piece from the Miami New Times:

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/mysterious-illegal-mailer-sent-to-republican-voters-from-your-republican-neighbor-10592903

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Is Daphne Campbell Trying To Trick Republicans Into Voting For Her?

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Updated: 8-9-18 at 3:19 PM EST (Campbell responds)

–Senator Daphne Campbell has been accused of illegally sending mailers to Republican voters in an attempt to trick them into voting for her, a Democrat. 

–Campbell says that it is her opponent Jason Pizzo who is behind the ploy. 

—–

Miami has a long and rich history of politicians playing dirty tricks on each other.

And signs are pointing to another example of that in 2018.

William Stuttgen is a registered Republican who lives in the Belle Meade area of Miami.

He’s retired and really dislikes his State Senator- Daphne Campbell.

He even has a campaign sign for Campbell’s opponent, Jason Pizzo in his front yard.

So when he received a letter in the mail last week that apparently came from a group of local Republicans that endorsed Campbell in the District 38 primary on August 28th, he was incensed.

Since no Republican or Independent registered to run in the general election in November, all voters in the district will be able to vote in the Democratic Primary.

Whoever wins in three weeks will be the district’s next State Senator.

And Stuttgen thinks that Campbell is using a classic dirty trick to get unsuspecting Republicans to vote for her.

“Someone got a list of the registered Republicans,” Stuttgen said in an interview at his home with RISE NEWS. “Pizzo didn’t do this. This is a Campbell thing.”

The chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party Juan Cuba said that they will be investigating whether Campbell is behind the flyer, as first reported by the Miami New Times:

Stuttgen said that the flyer was mailed to his house and had a stamp on it.

But it had no return address.

The name of the organization that claimed to pay for the flyer- “your Republican Neighbor” is not a registered political group in Florida and it is not clear where the money for the mailing came from.

It is also not clear how many people received the mailer.

Pizzo told RISE NEWS that his campaign has received another flyer from a voter in Miami Beach.

A Pizzo-supporting dark money group called FloridaStrong also said that have received a flyer from a voter who lives in Miami Beach that came from the same “your Republican Neighbor” group.

RISE NEWS canvassed six random houses on the street that Stuttgen lives on in Belle Meade.

None of the people we spoke to, including a registered Republican had received the flyer as of Sunday.

“Given my opponent’s unethical practices, there should be little doubt that she and her campaign coordinated this slate card,” Pizzo told RISE NEWS.

In a wide ranging phone interview that lasted nearly 45 minutes, Campbell denied the claims that she was behind the flyer.

She said that it was Pizzo who paid for the flyers to go out.

“He made it. It’s Christian Ulvert,” Campbell said of Pizzo’s political advisor. “I don’t have no money to do a slate. It’s them doing it. They’re so stupid.”

“Jason Pizzo can not take me down because I’m a people person,” Campbell said. “I’ve done so much for the communities I serve.

“Pizza wants developers from New Jersey to get rid of Haitians from Little Haiti,” Campbell said. “This is an attack on a black woman. I pray to God that August 28th that he gets his results. I leave Jason in God’s hands.”

On the campaign trail, Campbell has claimed that Pizzo is a secret Republican who wants to buy the election.

“I’m a proud Democrat,” Campbell said at a recent event in North Miami.

While Stuttgen is a Republican, he said that he is moderate on social issues.

Campbell is a pro life, anti-gay marriage Democrat who has been consistently supported by one of Florida’s most conservative religious groups, the Christian Family Coalition.

“She thinks people vote party line and they don’t look at the names,” Stuttgen said. “This is lunacy.

Campbell has a long history of controversy and borderline criminal behavior.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, RISE NEWS uncovered that Campbell had used her personal connection to an FPL lobbyist to try to get power turned on at the house of her “mother” before her other constituents.

Stuttgen said that if Pizzo loses to Campbell, he will be leaving Miami for good.

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Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

What Would You Do?: Former Cuban Refugee Turns In Undocumented Girl Who Escaped ICE Custody

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–A Homestead business owner is under fire for turning in a 15-year-old girl who escaped from a nearby jail for undocumented children.

The girl hid in the owner’s car repair shop for over an hour and begged not to be forced to go back to the jail where she claimed she was separated from her family.

Some say the business owner, a Cuban immigrant who came to the US in 1971, should have showed compassion for the girl and helped her escape.

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Opinion: South Dade Needs Rail Not More Buses

What’s News In This Story?


 

–Florida State Representative Kionne McGhee believes that South Dade should be served by a new rail line like it was promised back in 2002. 

In an op-ed video for RISE NEWS, McGhee lays out why he believes that state leaders and Miami-Dade Transit have failed the people he represents. 

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Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

Dozens Arrested After Anti-ICE Protestors Shut Down Broward Intersection

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– Dozens of protestors who shut down an intersection outside of a Miramar ICE facility have been arrested after a day of civil disobedience.

The protesters, who include an 18 year old girl were prepared to be arrested in order to make a point.

-They said that they were prepared to be arrested in order to draw attention to the plight of immigrant families who they claim are being mistreated at the Miramar ICE facility. 

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Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

Miami’s Waterkeeper Is Seriously Worried About The Future Of The City’s Waterways

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Miami Waterkeeper Rachel Silverstein has built her non-profit into a legit force in the South Florida political and legal world.

-They’ve entered the scene at the perfect time to give our waters a fighting chance.

-From pollution to ecosystem crushing algae blooms to sea level rise and a nuclear power plant that could end up being swallowed by the sea- there’s a lot at stake right now.

Rachel Silverstein is the waterkeeper and executive director for Miami Waterkeeper.

Silverstein leads a team of five lawyers and scientists who advocate for ecological protections and smart public policy through advocacy and scientific research. 

They also sue polluters. And they threaten people who are trashing Miami’s waters with lawsuits. They do that a lot.

In 2014, Miami Waterkeeper sued Miami-Dade county to protect coral reefs that were impacted by the Port Miami dredging project. The county settled with Miami Waterkeeper and paid over $400,000 to relocate the corals to a University of Miami lab.

FPL’s Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant.

Silverstein is concerned about the future of FPL’s Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. She thinks that the plant will be submerged by the impacts of sea level rise by 2040. FPL wants to continue to use the site until at least 2052

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