So far, State Representative Manny Diaz is opposition-free in his bid for Senate District 36. He has done an outstanding job consolidating support in various cities of the district, eliminating potential competitors with his existing office and excellent name recognition. Democrat leadership has tried to recruit former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas. While it appears that Penelas won’t make a run for the seat, we will be preparing a more thorough investigative report.
Though Penelas may offer name recognition and fundraising prowess for the Democrats, his extensive background in public office and his current career as a lobbyist provides an array of reasons why he should sit this one out.
While we work on our more extensive report, here’s what we know now about Penelas:
Aside from being a Democrat, Penelas has owned the party’s ever-increasingly liberal platform that includes being pro-abortion and pro-Castro, which is entirely against what America stands for.
In addition, earlier in his career as the county attorney, Penelas was accused of assisting with corrupt intra-governmental practices. A New York Times piece documented Miami-Dade government’s vast corruption, including accusations that Penelas fired staff for refusing to hire his own cronies. This makes him part of the “swamp” that America voted against in November 2016.
Another “swamp” move he committed was running a “sleazy” campaign for his Transit Not Tolls referendum. Part of the sleaze included allegations against university officials and special advertising contracts handed out to Penelas’ buddies.
Also, he oversaw a county government that massively increased spending and had multiple tax increases under his watch as evidenced in the county budget reports. Again, this is exactly what Americans voted against in the past presidential election, and it’s not the “America First” policy that’s currently flourishing in the economy and in Americans’ pockets.
During Penelas’ campaigns for county mayor and his run for the US Senate, Penelas had hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to him from questionable sources in Miami-Dade County. They were questionable either because of their ideological leanings or their business ties to Miami-Dade County.
And, if that wasn’t enough, Democrats don’t even trust him. Former Vice President Al Gore stated that Penelas was “the single most treacherous and dishonest person I dealt with during the 2000 presidential campaign anywhere in America.”
Finally, in his current profession as a lobbyist, his ongoing representation of business interests before the county and the aviation authority might raise eyebrows with voters.
To conclude, Penelas is just another corrupt elitist who will sacrifice the little guy for personal gain. Florida doesn’t need that. Given Diaz’s reputation as a diligent public servant and his record on education reform, Penelas is wise to take a pass.