Democrat recruit for House 116 was a Republican yesterday

Democrat recruit for House 116 was a Republican yesterday
  • Sumo

The woman recruited by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party to run in the special election for House District 116 was a Republican only hours before she registered to vote as a Democrat — the same day she qualified to run for state representative.

Gabriela Mayaudon, who is also listed on documents as Maria Gabriela Mayaudon, proudly declared herself “anti-Chavista y anti-Madurista hasta la muerte” and “Republicana” on her twitter profile a day or two before she qualified on the deadline day for the seat to replace State Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz, a Republican who resigned to run for a vacated Senate seat.

In a telephone interview with Ladra, Mayaudon said she didn’t remember declaring herself Republican, nor did she admit changing it at the last minute to Democrat before completely changing it to the current candidate profile. But she also didn’t deny it.

Read related story: Venezuelan leader may join House 116 race for Democrats

“I don’t feel Republican. I feel centrist. It’s difficult to explain right now, but I am proud to be representing the Democratic Party and all the people who feel alientated by each party,” Mayaudon said, sounding very much like an NPA. “No, I’m a Democrat. And I will defend the party and I am running to represent all the people who feel disenfranchised.

“And when the time comes — and it will because, I am saying it here first, I will win — I will be able to represent all,” she said.

It doesn’t disqualify her. While a Democrat was forced to withdraw from the Senate District 40 race because he had switched from the Republican Party within the last year and lied about it, there is no rule precluding a newly-registered voter from running, according to Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman with the Florida Division of Elections. Mayaudon simply self-identified as a Republican, she never registered as one. In fact, she never registered at all before June 6, when she registered and filed to run as a Democrat. The Miami-Dade Democratic Party gave her $1,800 for her qualifying fee.

But while she was coy with Ladra, Mayaudon came clean with the Democrats who recruited her — which includes the new political director, who was a Republican himself a year ago (more on that later).

“She was very up front about the fact that when she first got here, she affiliated with the Republian Party,” said Juan Cuba, chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party. “But after this election, she could see that her values are not aligned with the values of the Republican Party.”

Cuba says that the party was recruiting for different races because they do not want to see any Republican run unchallenged. Mayaudon, a Venezuelan congresswoman who came to this country seeking political asylum and who became an activist in Doral’s Venezuelan community seemed like a good candidate he said. Her diversity definitely helped.

Read related story: Few hopefuls line up to replace Jose Felix Diaz in 116

“Democrats need to do more work in the Venezuelan community,” Cuba said. “We risk losing an entire generation. And they are affiliating with the Republican Party because they are the only party speaking to their issue.”

But maybe they should have groomed her and waited to run in the district where she actually lives and where she is known, which is House district 105, and supported the Democrat candidate that was already qualified in the 116 race, perennial candidate Ross Hancock. Ross doesn’t live in the district either but he lives as close to it as Mayaudon does and was already looking for a new place. He also has run before so he knows how to walk and, as a full fledged naturalist and a former NPA, he pulls from both the environmental voter base and the independents in the general. Sure, he is a perennial candidate, but not the same as an Annette Taddeo — who is running for her fourth different elected office — because he has only run for one office, a House seat. He hasn’t jumped into other races to serve in just any elected office. He has honed in on the Florida House, where he can best promote an environmental agenda.

He also speaks Spanish a little better than Mayaudon speaks English, which could be an issue. She answered in slow, broken and labored English when pressed but otherwise answered questions posed in English in her native Spanish. Ladra loves Hispanic candidates as much as any buena perra sata, and I have often said that there are some districts where you need a z or a vowel at the end of your name to compete. This 116 seat could be one of those. But both the Republican candidates are so bad that this could have been Hancock’s best chance ever to make it to Tallahassee. Ladra wishes he hadn’t withdrawn, if only to force a debate on the issues with a woman who tweeted, only a month ago, that she lives in the U.S.A. but her heart is still in Venezuela.

Cuba said that neither he nor anyone at the party encouraged Hancock to withdraw, but Hancock told Ladra he made it very clear that he would not run against another Democrat in the primary. Hancock did not want to spend any resources at all until the general, where he felt he would also get a majority of independents to support him against whoever the Republicans chose (either the establishment choice or the Havana poster boy). Cuba said that it was simply a misunderstanding: They thought Ross, who has run three times already, didn’t really want to run and was only doing it because no other Democrat would. So they got one.

Cuba also said that they looked for someone “with a story to tell.”

But it seems the “story” she’s telling is that she’s a Democrat.

And the Democrats — who threw away the chance to win a competitive House seat that Hillary took in November with a genuine candidate by registering a last minute Latina that checks some boxes — might be selling a story, too.

26 Responses to "Democrat recruit for House 116 was a Republican yesterday"

  1. Sam Feldman   June 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Just another monumental screw up by the Miami Dade Democratic establishment.
    By the way, no one I know in Doral Venezuelan community knows this lady and I have most certainly been active with Venezuelans. I am a born Venezuelan, pero Maracucho pot gracia de dios.

  2. Ross Hancock   June 12, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    I assumed the party had done their due diligence, but irregardless, it is a thousand times better to have a former Republican than one of the extremist current Republicans who will be trying to steal what should be a Democratic seat, based on Hillary’s strong performance in 116, plus the Dem effort being applied in the Senate special election that overlaps a good part of the district.

    • Sam Feldman   June 13, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Ross, are you kidding? As far as I know, there was one phone call to a Venezuelan Democrat activist who responded that he did not know this lady. Also, this democratic candidate appeared to belong to a far right-wing party in Venezuela when she was elected to their Congress.
      You are well aware that the State Dem Party has often selected and supported idiotic candidates and have let viable candidates flounder in the wind without any help, including you.
      This is another FUBAR deja vu all over again. So, what else is new?

    • Belen Valladares   June 13, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Yes, under the current state of affairs, totally agree! Besides it’s good Dems are showing up in every race, bringing up issues.

      Also about time Dems run more effective campaigns. Practice makes perfect.

  3. Food for thought   June 12, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    A real democrat is the same as a fake republican. Or is it a fake republican is the same as a real democrat?

  4. Kendall Resident for life   June 12, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Like Sam, said another fatal botched up decision by the party wanna-be leaders. I have been a life long Dem and I would not support anyone that posts “I live in the U.S. but my heart is ((anywhere else). They can bondo, sand, paint and call anything you want but she’s not a Dem, especially with that Venezuelan background.

  5. Luimar Zibetti Garza   June 12, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Ongoing Chaoter: Tsk…tsk Gabriela… have you NO shame in appropriating the Babylonic words of “flexible truth” as defined in taqiyya, kitman, taysir, tawriya? Sacre Bleu… what comes next… stating that a Burqa is an effective deterrent against taharrushings?? Lordy… the clumps of clay… 😩😩😩

    Dahhhhhlinnnggg…. you SHALL be raked through the coals and jagged glass when our rows and rows of legally honed shark teeth rip apart you and your treasonous coat of dishonest and unloyal behavior… do better. 👥🕵👥

  6. Perplexed   June 13, 2017 at 6:17 am

    OK, the candidate is misleading you, but why is Juan Cuba lying to Democrats about why he is funding this cluster? Poor but hopeful people give the party money for change that is needed. Not to spend on this crap. What’s the real agenda? Looking forward to Part 2 of this.

  7. Living in the Banana Republic   June 13, 2017 at 7:49 am

    She should follow her heart back to Venezuela and leave us alone .She will miss the US more than it will miss her. In fairmess to perenial candidate Taddeo, perenial candidate Ross also ran for Coral Gables Commissioner. Ross 0-3 and Taddeo 0-4 so far.

    • Ladra   June 13, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Oooooh, you’re right! I forgot about that commission run (as has everyone else). Scratch that. My bad.

      Thanks for fixing me.

      Love, Ladra

    • Ross Hancock   June 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      I’m actually 0-4. Been trying to beat tough Republicans non-stop for more than five years. Never picked an easy race, and not interested in opposing Dems. It is what it is.

  8. Which pol protects the taxpayers?   June 13, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Another candidate who struggles with English?

  9. Millie Herrera   June 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Sam, I would hardly call Manuel Rosales and his Party a right-wing party! But tbe real issue at hand is the complete lack of vetting and disregard for consulting with real community leaders on the ground BEFORE recruiting candidates. This also hurts our candidates with negative coverage like this. I expressed this concern to the DEC chair already. We need to formalize candidate recruitment and vetting if we expect to have more successful candidates who can win seats. In the meantime, let’s work hard to help Maria Gabriela win this seat. It CAN be done if we put aside our concerns about how she was recruited for after the election, and let’s win this seat!

    • Ross Hancock   June 13, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Yes! No candidate is perfect. This seat is a rare gift to Dems originating from the demise of Artiles. Let’s put aside the odd circumstances for now and win this House and Senate special election quiniela. The people of Florida have suffered enough.

    • Ladra   June 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Ladra te quiere Millie. And, Ross, you have grown on me. I have come to consider you quite a level-headed political observer/engager, even if you are bluer than the sky, as evidenced by this blind following of whoever the party picks. But you are both wrong.

      And it pains me to see either of you endorse a candidate just because she or he will vote the party line. And in this case because she is bought and paid for by the party.

      We are not talking about a registered Repulican who changed her mind because of some policy or values she disagreed with (and I love Ana Rivas Logan). We are talking about a Republican at heart who registered for the first time as a Democrat after the party convinced her to run and said they would pay for it. For all we know, she is still Republican inside.

      And, further, it is not only why the Democrats keep losing it is why they SHOULD keep losing. Because we cannot allow this formula — to pick a candidate out of oblivion who checks off some demographic boxes and who will do whatever the party says — to be the winning formula. Female? Check. Single mom. Check. Hispanic. Check. Good back story? Check. With all his faults, the Dems should have supported Hancock, who probably would have voted with them always anyway but because he was following his heart, not because he was being told by his puppet masters what to do.

      Puppet masters are always bad. Whether they are red or blue.

      Mayaudon should be rejected by real Democrats in 116 as an imposter AND a carpetbagger. She lives in 105. And what I am saying is that it’s not such a bad thing that the Dems found her. Good for them for thinking out of the box and they DO need to start reaching out to the Venezuelan and other communities. But they should have groomed her and prepared her to run in 105 either next year or sooner because there is a good chance that State Rep. Carlos Trujillo could possibly leave for an ambassadorship somewhere before his term is up, forcing another special session. That would have given her time to make the transition look real. Heck, maybe it would have even been real. But the local Dems don’t think long term. Everything is a gut, knee-jerk reaction.

      I wish I lived in this district. I would write in Ross Hancock.

      Love, Ladra

      • Ross Hancock   June 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        Ladra, the process is your beat. I respect that. But everyone doesn’t have the luxury. Kids are being shot. Parents are working two jobs and can’t support a family. I have a relative who will actually die when ACA is repealed. The hate out there has never been so scary. So yes, I will absolutely take Rep. Mayaudon and celebrate her victory, and at the same time I will await an honest explanation of what the Democratic party is up to, because I have not been told anything that makes an ounce of sense.

    • Ladra   June 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Also, mi amiga, it may be negative coverage to you, but it’s honest coverage to me. Wouldn’t you want me to write about this if it had been the GOP who found a Democrat activist and registered as a Republican candidate?

      Please don’t be a hypocrite.

      Love, Ladra

    • Sam Feldman   June 13, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      I have absolutely nothing against this candidate. I really wish her well in the future. Right now, she is newly registered voter and seems to have never voted in the US before. She may have potential, but she is obviously not fully aculturated into our polit.
      My anger is at our amateurish ineptitude. The high schoolish games we have to play with clowns has worn me out. Even BJ wasn’t this bad.

  10. Benny Vera   June 14, 2017 at 3:28 am

    It’s about high time that a district in Miami is represented by somebody who cares so little about Florida public policy and so much about Venezuela’s right vs. left fight that her entire Twitter feed is nothing but #SOSVenezuela. We really need more ideas about hawkish foreign policy towards Latin American countries represented in the Florida House discussions about public school budgets, etc. Thank God the Miami-Dade Democratic Party recognizes this need. Healthcare, public schools, and criminal justice reform needs to take a backseat to how rich Venezuelan expats feel about the country they fled and try to dictate from afar.

    It’s about damn time Florida Democrats give up House seats to right-wing Venezuelans who care so little about Florida that they spend their time retweeting attacks on the children of their political opponents back home.

    According to the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and its District 116 candidate, the issue that matters to voters is whether or not a niece of a pro-Maduro politician likes to travel.

  11. Gus Echeverri   June 14, 2017 at 10:55 am

    There’s another player for this race. Christian Schlaerth of the Social Democratic Labor Party. Someone who isnt for paid interests.

  12. Ain'tnosaint   June 15, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Elect a Dem to represent you in a place that has a Rep majority. Your representative will be able to pass no meaningful legislation and be useless on committees. Sounds great. Even better when the person’s first loyalty is for another country.

  13. Kartik Krishnaiyer on Florida Democrats   June 16, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    This just got real. A top Florida progressive “steps away” from the Democratic Party handling of this election.

    “I’ve grown tired and jaded of the lip service coming from the party establishment about “changes being made,” and “this election cycle will be different.” Maybe 2018 will actually be different, but it won’t be because of the party based on what is being evidenced thus far.”

  14. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz   June 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I wish one Democratic consultant or candidate would examine why went from moderate Democratic to right wing Republucan. Obviously being more left wing is moronic

    • Food for thought   June 17, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      I’m in shock to read the idea that Florida democrats have to recruit republican leaning candidates and shift to the right ideologically in order to be competitive.

  15. Jose   August 30, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    As USUAL we have 2 complete and utter piles of Miami ”m1erda” as choices .

  16. Jose   August 30, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Food for thought ,
    The Florida Dem party is an ill run disaster and they go out of their way to blow races they could have won , this is an example .

    The DNC needed years ago to fire the top brass in the Florida Dem party and Miami Dem party . It is money thrown away .


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