There’s a special election on the 26th for Florida State Senate District 40’s seat. It goes without saying that the Democrat running is the more qualified, but first take a look at the history of this seat so that you see where Florida Republicans are coming from. District 40 includes the Miami Zoo and former State Senator Frank Artiles would have done well to have taken up residence there. Artiles was forced to resign from the state senate last April, ”for his alcohol-fueled tirade against Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville in which he called her a “bitch” and a “girl” and referred to some Republicans as “niggas.” But outraged black lawmakers said his apology was not enough: They formally sought his expulsion from the Senate," said the Miami Herald. Expulsion was achieved, occasioning the special election which is set to go forward in two weeks.
That was only the straw that broke the camel’s back where Artiles was concerned. He had previously been under investigation for questionable campaign expenditures, to wit, hiring beautiful young woman as political “consultants.” Miami Herald:
But the long list of expenditures filed with the Florida Division of Elections by Artiles’ political committee, Veterans for Conservative Principles, also raised some questions. Why did the committee hire a former Hooters “calendar girl” and a Playboy model with no political experience as “consultants?” Were the payments related to a trip to the Kentucky Derby or a fishing tournament in Key West? What was the more than $51,000 in reimbursements to Artiles for?
Heather Thomas, a former Hooters calendar girl and waitress at 101, a restaurant and bar in Tallahassee, was paid $2,000 between March and June of last year. The expense report lists the purpose as “consultant.” Her friend, Brittney Singletary, is a waitress at Stetsons on the Moon in Tallahassee. She was paid $1,500 with three checks covering three of the same dates and listing the same purpose.
This level of detail on Artiles is being provided to illustrate the level of corruption in Florida state politics, which the new broom, wielded by Democrat Annette Taddeo, will sweep clean. Flippable.org:
We’re excited to support a candidate who represents the best of what our progressive movement — and America — has to offer. Born in Colombia, Annette moved to Florida at 17, pursued higher education in Alabama, and started her own successful translation business (named one of Florida’s top 100 small businesses).
Along the way, Annette faced her share of hardships. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew ravaged South Florida and destroyed Annette’s parents’ home. Annette and her parents lived in an RV for months, during which time she helped her neighbors and parents slowly rebuild. She saw how precarious life can become during a natural disaster: how savings and assets are often wiped out, how families struggle to recover. She came away with the deep desire to strengthen the safety net and a calling to serve her community.
Annette ran as gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s running mate in 2014, and after a hard-fought campaign they lost to Republican Rick Scott by just 1%. She comes to this race a seasoned candidate with a network of fired-up supporters.
As State Senator for the 40th District, Annette will work to expand healthcare coverage, protect Florida’s natural resources, and invest in public schools. By electing this well-respected community leader, we can take our first step toward flipping Florida’s state government.
Taddeo is facing off against Republican Jose Felix Diaz, in what Politico has characterized as a multi-million dollar, bruising campaign.
For Democrats, reeling after President Donald Trump’s surprise win last year, the swing seat represents one of their best chances in more than a decade to finally increase their ranks to 16 members in the 40-member Florida Senate.
Registered Democrats slightly outnumber Republicans in the district, and Trump lost it by more than 16 percentage points to Hillary Clinton last November.
Though the president’s name is not on the ballot, Democrats say they have the next best thing in Díaz, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” show who was fired by Trump. In a sign of Trump’s lack of popularity, Diaz deleted a Tweet he took of himself with Trump at the White House during the inauguration. [...]
For Republicans, the election represents yet another opportunity to maintain their dominance in Tallahassee, where they control the House, Senate, Governor’s Mansion and Cabinet. Republicans note that, though Democrats surged in Miami last year, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio won the district by about 3 points to former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, while former state Sen. Frank Artiles won it by 10 points.
As always, voter turnout in special elections is traditionally low, and it will be a key factor in this special election as well.