Despite the Second Ever Official “VotersOpinon Recommends” in the History of the World, Florida State Representative Daphne Campbell handily beat out the opposition in the August Democratic primary. On November 4, 2014, she will face a new challenger by the name of Cedon Saintil, Jr., a self-described “local businessman and pastor,” who is registered as NPA (No Party Affiliation).
Ordinarily I’d support anyone running against an incompetent politician. This is not to say that Mr. Saintil wouldn’t be a good choice for House District 108. I’m sure he could do a better job than Daphne Campbell. Almost anyone would.
I’m also pretty sure that Mr. Saintil won’t be able to snatch the tiara from Daphne’s tightly clenched fist.
But his failure to unseat her won’t be entirely his own fault.
I happened to come across an email sent by “Mario Apollon / a concerned Haitian American citizen,” of Apollon & Associates, 1525 NW 24 Street, North Miami, Florida 33167, inviting “All my Friends, Supporters & members of the community” to a fundraiser in support of Cedon Saintil, Jr.’s candidacy.
If the name Mario Apollon sounds familiar, it should. He ran against North Miami Beach Councilwoman Phyllis Smith in the 2011 election. It was also commonly believed that Mario was NMB Councilcritter Frantz Pierre’s ringer installed in the race to advance Frantzie’s ultimately failed “Haitian Agenda.”
As an interesting side note, according to his Facebook page (and the Florida Division of Corporations), Mario Apollon is a resident of North Miami. One of Apollon’s good friends happens to be Carpetbagger Hans Mardy, who also “relocated” to North Miami Beach in time to run in the 2009 and 2011 elections, and also conveniently “moved” back to North Miami after losing in NMB.
(FYI, both of them are also Frantzie’s Facebook and Real Life friends.)
In his email supporting Cedric Saintil, Jr., Mario Apollon wrote:
“Needless to say that the Haitian Diaspora is no longer what it used to be 30 years ago. Thanks to the hard work of our predecessors who have settled across the nation, our brothers and sisters are no longer refugees who are desperate to put foods on the table. Our aspiration has passed beyond hunger & poverty. We are now professionals with bigger dreams, vision and aspiration to take part of the American dream.
We become doctors, lawyers, businessmen, educators, and politicians just to name a few. As we move on to the social ladder, we become more eager to change the negative stereotype that has been followed us for decades.”
At that moment, he had me at “American dream.”
Unfortunately, he didn’t stop there.
Mario Apollon then proceeded to blow all his political capital by stating:
“If we’re serious about helping Haiti, let’s start with the Haitian Diaspora.”
What did “helping Haiti” have to do with the “American dream?”
Silly me! And here I thought District 108 was in the State of Florida.
But not according to Mario Apollon. He continued:
As a concerned Haitian American citizen, I call upon your goodwill to put our differences aside for the betterment of the Haitian Diaspora and eventually our homeland, and abroad.
Instead of discussing District 108’s representation in Tallahassee, FLORIDA, Mario’s bigger concern is “the betterment of the Haitian Diaspora” and his “homeland.”
Although it’s entirely possible that Florida House of Representatives District 108 candidate Cedric Saintil, Jr. does not espouse the same Identity Politics as his supporter/fundraiser, Mario Apollon. But if you received that email, what would you think?
Here’s the thing.
According to the statistics published by the Florida House of Representatives, the voting age population of District 108 is made up of: 60.0% non-Hispanic Blacks, 12.7% non-Hispanic Whites, 22.6% Hispanic, and 4.6% are classified as “Hispanic Black” and “non-Hispanic Other.”
Even if most of those non-Hispanic Blacks are Haitians (which is highly unlikely), at least 40% of the voters believe that District 108 is in Florida.
I seriously doubt that Mario Apollon’s email will affect the outcome of the election one way or the other. For one thing, Cedric Saintil Jr. has almost no name recognition. For another, judging by the fact that no Republicans even dare to run in District 108, the only thing voters seem to care about is that their state rep is a Democrat. Saintil’s NPA classification isn’t exactly helping his cause.
But most importantly, it’s nearly impossible to unseat an incumbent. Even worse, the longer elected officials are in office, the harder it is to get rid of them. Daphne has held her position since she was first elected in 2010. After her primary sweep in August, I’m pretty sure she’s not staying up nights worrying about losing her seat to Saintil.
Unfortunately, the citizens of District 108 will probably be stuck with Daphne Campbell for the next two years. If they’re serious about getting rid of her, they’d better come up with a viable candidate by 2016.
Otherwise, the “Celebrity” of the Florida House will continue her reign.
“Spreading the Wealth”