“I’m searching for Alex,” she advised a white-haired man who answered the door. “Is he round?”
“Uh, no. He’ll be again tomorrow, although,” the person replied, refusing to say the place Rodriguez was, how one can attain him, or why a person with no historical past in politics — a registered Republican till a number of months in the past — had develop into an unaffiliated candidate for Florida’s 37th state Senate District.
Days later, Milberg found, the person on the door had been mendacity. He was, in truth, Rodriguez, whose greater than 6,000 votes could have tipped the election away from a Democratic incumbent in Miami with the identical final title.
A close race was all the time anticipated between state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez (D) and Ileana Garcia (R), a well-funded Republican challenger who had worked for President Trump’s marketing campaign and previously founded the group Latinas for Trump.
However as a recount final week confirmed Garcia’s victory by the thinnest of margins — 34 votes — the Democratic incumbent has raised alarms that Alex Rodriguez ran for only one motive: to confuse voters and siphon off ballots meant for him.
“Democracy requires transparency,” José Javier Rodríguez stated in a concession video final week. “In an effort to obtain that, I consider this election requires a full investigation in order that those that could have violated the regulation are held to account and in order that such techniques should not utilized in future elections.”
Prosecutors are actually trying into Alex Rodriguez, the Miami Herald reported, and he has since retained a lawyer. That lawyer, William Barzee, declined to remark in a textual content message to The Washington Publish.
But no previous races seem to have been fairly as razor-thin because the one between Garcia and José Javier Rodríguez, for a swing district in Miami-Dade County that had been closely targeted by nationwide Democrats.
“Will we defund the police and stroll away from American values? Will we select socialism and chaos out of concern?” she requested in one campaign ad, vowing to make sure “criminals can’t take what hard-working households have earned.”
Rodríguez, a lawyer and first-term senator who had beforehand served within the Florida Home, pitched his current work on climate-change points and labor.
Alex Rodriguez, in the meantime, appeared to haven’t any marketing campaign in any respect. He didn’t attend candidate boards, had no web site, and obtained solely a $2,000 mortgage from himself, the Herald reported. When WPLG sought candidate headshots to make use of on TV, he didn’t return the station’s calls.
But he ran for workplace as a result of “it’s all the time one thing I wished to do,” he told the Herald.
Rodriguez is among the many 10 most popular surnames in the USA, and in lots of components of closely Latino South Florida, it would as effectively exchange top-ranked Smith. Garcia has additionally identified that an unaffiliated candidate additionally ran in José Javier Rodríguez’s shut 2016 race.
“There was no outrage on the time,” Garcia told the news site Florida Politics. “What’s the distinction now? The distinction is he misplaced. I cannot enable this mood tantrum to distract from the essential work forward.”
Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R) and the Florida GOP’s senate marketing campaign arm each denied involvement in Alex Rodriguez’s marketing campaign or candidacy in an announcement to the Herald. However some Florida Democrats say the small print of Alex Rodriguez’s candidacy increase questions.
Beneath oath, Rodriguez listed his tackle on marketing campaign paperwork as being in Palmetto Bay, Fla., according to WLTV, though the station reported that he had in truth been dwelling in a rented home in Boca Raton, greater than 60 miles and a number of other state Senate districts away.
As WPLG reported, Rodriguez’s candidacy additionally bears putting similarities to that of Celso D. Alfonso, one other no-party Florida state Senate candidate.
Each males had been registered as Republicans in 2018, and each certified for this yr’s election on the identical day, with hand-delivered checks time-stamped inside minutes of each other, according to the Herald. Their listed e-mail addresses are practically equivalent, too.
Reached by WPLG at his home, Alfonso stated that he determined to run at 81 years previous to pursue a childhood dream of public service. Requested about his marketing campaign fliers — which had been despatched out by the identical mysterious PAC — Alfonso stated he had no such adverts.
Minutes later, he modified his story.