Frank Artiles resigns and an old rival, Juan Zapata, could run

Frank Artiles resigns and an old rival, Juan Zapata, could run
  • Sumo

Could El Zorro come to the rescue again?

One of the names being batted around for a special election to replace disgraced former Sen. Frank Artiles — who resigned Friday after making inappropriate and racist comments earlier in the week when speaking to a few colleagues — is his all-time rival and nemesis, former Miami-Dade Commissioner and former State Rep. Juan Zapata.

Zapata abruptly withdrew his candidacy from his re-election to the county commisison last year. He had grown sick and tired of the retaliatory tactics of the mayor and his allies and the hat trick maze that is the county budget. But he had been one of the good guys, asking the right questions, not playing politics or favorites with the other electeds and watching, more closely than anyone else, the taxpayer’s money.

Now, maybe we can have him in the Senate.

Read related story: Frank Artiles resigns, but still needs to apologize to Hialeah

Zapata was out of the country Friday on business but returned a text message from Ladra about it.

 “Yes, I am seriously considering it,” he wrote, and followed it with a smiling emoji. The big smiley one, not the little smile.

“I wasnt going to be able to contribute much in the county commission. The state senate would obviously allow for way more,” Zapata told Ladra. “This is my area. I have always fought and worked for it. Nobody knows it better than I and my experience has prepared me well.”

It would only be gravy if he gets to replace his longtime nemesis (my words, not his).

Zapata and Artiles have been rivals. Artiles ran for state rep against Zapata twice and lost. He then basically recruited and ran police officer Manny Machado against Zap in the 2012 county commission race (lost then, too).

Other Republicans being considered for the job would be State Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz — but he is being groomed for Attorney General — and State Rep. Jeannette Nunez, but she has filed to run for Sen. Anitere Flores‘ termed-out seat in 2018 in what is a slightly safer district for her and probably with Flores’ blessing. (Editor’s note: So, a reader corrected me that Flores is termed out in 2020. My bad. Nunez still wants that seat. She is not going to move to District 40 with her family)

The GOP can’t just pick anybody off the street. They are going to want someone with name recognition who can win on a shorter campaign cycle and thwart the efforts of state Democrats, who want to get their seat back in a district that slightly favors the blue. Artiles, who was a state rep for six years — only winning the House seat once Zap left office to run in the — had beaten former State Sen. Dwight Bullard by 10 percentage points, mostly by calling him a terrorist.

Naturally, Bullard is one of the Democrats being considered. But seeing how he moved out of the district to try to get the chairmanship of the Florida Democratic Party, it would be easy to attack him if he just moved back in to run for his old seat again. I can see the mailers now. Instead of Arab headwear, he’d be carrying luggage. Besides, Bullard might win a primary but he won’t win the general in a district that is about 60% Hispanic. He already tried that once and failed.

Read related story: Chased out: Juan Zapata leaves hostile work environment

The others are perennial candidate Annette Taddeo (who would also win a primary but not the general) and former State Rep. Ana Rivas Logan, who is the person that should have won that seat from the get go, but the Democrats decided to back Bullard and she didn’t even campaign.

Rivas Logan told me she had gotten several phone calls already by lunchtime Friday. Of course, she’s the female flip version of Zapata — a moderate Democrat (she used to be Republican) who has bocoup name recognition.

“It depends on the timeline,” said Rivas Logan, a high school administrator who retires in October. “This is how I make my bread and butter. Politics is a hobby.”

A date has not been set yet for a special election, but it could come as early as this summer, with a 60 day campaign. 

We are already envisioning a showdown between Zapata and Rivas Logan, which will be clean and on the issues, and we can’t wait for these two longtime public servants to show the rest of the puppies how it’s done.

“He would be a formidable opponent,” Rivas Logan said. “That would be a good race.”

Yeah boy, it would!

19 Responses to "Frank Artiles resigns and an old rival, Juan Zapata, could run"

  1. Kendall   April 21, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Juan c Zapata will have mine and my families vote in Westchester and kendall, he worked his tail off as a county commissioner

  2. dem40   April 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I am hearing Raul Martinez Jr. is a possibility.

  3. Anonymous   April 21, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Minor correction: Flores doesn’t term out until 2020.

  4. El colombiano Loco   April 22, 2017 at 6:11 am

    I guess you have selective Ladra. You forgot that the real reason Juan “Valdez” Zapata did not run for re-election was that he knew he was going to lose. Because of that Harvard biz school, on the taxpayers dime scam.I will make sure Rivas-Logan will have my nd my families vote in Kendall, Miami, and Miami-Dade. Go Ana!

    • Miami-Dade County Sucks   April 24, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Zapata would not have lost. He just got tired of all the crap going on at the county. He even received the endorsement of the county police union over one of its own officers which is unheard of.

  5. response   April 22, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Juan Zapata would have won re election, he decided to do other venture, the county is one of the worst places to get things done. Zap has a chance to do better in the district and really improve and bring down the necessary monies that belong into D 40. He did wonders with his commission District , I am going to call it now, he will do better for us in the Senate !

  6. TellingItLikeItIs   April 22, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Though I agree with Zapata politically, he proved to be a quitter and allowed that low-life Martinez to re-gain his seat.

  7. gus Chacon   April 24, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Not ZAPATA ? He was a No Good Commissioner in Miami Dade . DO WE HAVE ANY ONE ELSE ?

  8. Creep Joe   April 24, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I will never forgive Juan Zapata for quitting his race at the last minute which allowed that creep Joe Martinez to get elected unopposed.

  9. SAMMY   April 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    1- Miami-Dade Sucks- The PBA had endorsed him before Martinez decide to run, they cant take away an endorsement once it was said.

    2- TellingItLikeItIs- Why is Martinez a low life, He doesnt always vote how I would like it. But hes honest and explains why at least. And please Zapata has his private agenda to what will benefit him maybe he will do more than one term this time instead of quitting yet again or the truth might come out. but you know that since you tell it like it is?

    • LaVerdad   April 24, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Sammy, you seem to defend anything related to Joe Martinez. Are you related or Joe himself? Can share examples in Ladra’s old posts where you are consistently there…arguing for his interests. It is funny. But… makes you less credible. Sure others can see it. Suerte.

      • SAMMY   April 25, 2017 at 9:47 am


        I like how you grasp for straws.No, Sorry to disappoint but I am not related to Martinez. I am how ever someone who voted for him. I do live in the hammocks which is in District 11. So yes I comment on that crazy right commenting on stuff about where i live that’s weird.

        But I did have more respect for him when he handle a circumstance to me and my family. His speech was touching and street naming didn’t fill the void but I see her name always. as i drive. I also notice he pushed for Krome after the death of a young boy, he wasn’t even in office.

        Question You defend people you know right?? Someone that helped you?? Does that make you less creditable does that mean you are related no MEANS YOU are loyal. Rare right.. Hmm crazy
        but hey to each is own.

        I like Zapata until the city IDEA but i wouldn’t take that away that he has done some good, you will see i have written that in pass. Yes he didn’t live in the district the whole time, Do i believe he has a hidden agenda yes, Did he do some good yes some bad yes!!!! Do i prefer Martinez yes. In this new election since I’m not sure who it is I’m not sure were my support will be. I will go by the lesser of two evils since I doubt its someone new. And if they line with my beliefs, isnt that why or how you vote?? if they support what you believe in??

        • LaVerdad   April 26, 2017 at 2:17 am


          According to you, I grasped at straws by stating a fact (there is evidence you defend nearly anything Joe Martinez related, which you just admitted yourself), yet you just wrote a 265 word tirade about the subject? Please google “grasping at straws.” It wasn’t unreasonable to ask if you were related or even Commissioner Martinez himself. Especially since your later comments support the suspicion you have a particular bias toward the man.

          We understand your emotion about your “loyalty.” We applaud you for being loyal. The constant defenses do, however, come off as personal bias, which now makes more sense because you have explained Commissioner Martinez helped you and your family.

          Thank you for clarifying your position regarding Joe Martinez.

          • SAMMY   April 26, 2017 at 10:21 am

            LeVerda- Yes iI believe the term Grasping for Straws fits towards you. Because it did sound like you implied that it was hard to believe someone could defend him unless they are related to him, It wasn’t til now that you would think it was him. Thank you cause his grammar and spelling is better than mine. lol
            Yes I did state I have a particular respect and loyalty to him. He DID personally help us, And correct I am passionate about being loyal cause its a rare treat now a days. And no need to thank me for clarifying my position where I stand. Because if I support someone I say it I wont hide behind it. So if you feel better good for you. I support those front and center. Until I am proven wrong. PERIOD like I was with other elected officials.
            And I am sure you have personal bias to some. As do most. Have a wonderful day LeVarda..

  10. Over-tolled in Kendall   April 24, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Let’s see who will get up to speed on the tolling situation. Don’t show up at a Kendall town hall without doing your homework. Seat needs to be filled by a Republican so they can get something done on I’m Talli.

  11. Sam   April 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Rumor has it that Jose Pepe Diaz is going to receive the appointment by Trump.

  12. Johnny C.   April 29, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    And save West End while you’re at it lol

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