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As a Democrat, a Cuban-American and a Florida voter, I am often perplexed by the actions of my party, especially in Florida. But this one is really a head scratcher—word is that the Miami-Dade Democratic Party is tapping Al Lorenzo to run its absentee ballot program. Who is Al Lorenzo you might ask? Marco Rubio can tell you:
Soon he became a regular in Dade's insular Cuban Republican club. In 1996, Xavier Suarez hired him to run his county mayoral campaign, which he lost. Lorenzo then went on a winning streak: from Alex Penelas's 1996 county mayoral run to Joe Carollo's surprise Miami mayoral victory in 1997. The next year, he hooked up with his most important candidate of all.Al Lorenzo, shady Republican, political fixer and consultant to the execrable David Rivera, hired by Dems to help elect Dade Democrats and reelect President Barack Obama? Does this make any sense?
Rubio was then an unknown West Miami councilman running for the Florida House against former Channel 51 reporter Angel Zayon. Zayon beat Rubio in the primary despite Rubio's $50,000 fundraising edge. The pair went to a runoff, and Lorenzo made a key move: persuading Coral Gables Commissioner Bill Kerdyk to get his town's Anglo Republicans behind Rubio.
Rubio won. If not for Lorenzo, the guy many are tapping as Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate might never have gotten out of West Miami. Rubio acknowledged as much after becoming Florida's first Cuban-American House speaker in 2007; he thanked just two political mentors during his inauguration: Jeb Bush and Al Lorenzo.
Al Lorenzo, a fellow implicated in a real absentee voter fraud scandal? That's who Dade Democrats want? Really? Can Richard Lydecker, the head of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, explain this? Does it have to do with his relationship to former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, for whom Lorenzo worked in the non-partisan Miami mayor's race? Is it because Diaz and Lydecker are law partners?
The old saying is that all politics are local. But we learned the hard way in 2000 that what happens in Miami-Dade can effect us all. The Miami-Dade Democratic Party has some 'splainin' to do.