With all due respect to Charlie Crist, who did what pretty much everyone expected him to do yesterday, Rod Vereen, one of “eleventy” candidates for Kendrick Meek’s old Congressional seat in Miami, just pulled the don move of the political season. With 10 people preparing to file for the race — four Haitian-Americans, five African-Americans, one white Democrat, four women, two well-known elected officials (Shirley Gibson and Frederica Wilson) … well, you get the picture … Vereen, a charismatic attorney (best known for fighting the Bush Justice department to a mistrial — twice — in the Liberty City Seven case — who is less well known than many of his rivals (though he’s chipping away at it with signs literally all over the district even at this early date) found a way to avoid the August cluster-squawk. He filed NPA.
With that, Rod guaranteed himself a spot on the November ballot, opposite whoever wins the Democratic primary (the Republican who was expected to run, Corey Poitier — who made a name for himself, and not in a good way last month by calling President Obama “Buckwheat,” failed to qualify.) He has three more months than his opponents to raise general election money, while only they have to burn what they raise fighting each other, and he rides a wave of independence that’s only growing, including among Black Floridians, at the same time the highest profile independent in the country, Charlie Crist, is on the ballot. Not bad for a guy who’s never been in politics.
|017||Bastien, Marleine (DEM)||Qualified|
|Brutus, Phillip J. (DEM)||Qualified|
|Bush III, James (DEM)||Qualified|
|Galvin, Scott (DEM)||Qualified|
|Gibson, Shirley (DEM)||Qualified|
|Moise, Rudolph “Rudy” (DEM)||Qualified|
|Roberson, Yolly (DEM)||Qualified|
|Vereen, Roderick D. (NPA)||Qualified|
|Williams, Andre L. (DEM)||Qualified|
|Wilson, Frederica S. (DEM)||Qualified|
I spoke to Rod just a few minutes ago, and he told me that while he’s a lifelong Democrat, he filed NPA today, even before Charlie Crist turned his paperwork in, because the 10-way primary war was “not his fight.” He added:
“It’s not that I didn’t enjoy being a Democrat. I enjoyed being a democrat. But when I looked around I said ‘look at this district.’ Democrats have been running it for how many years, and what’s gotten done? That can’t be my platform.”
Rod said that if elected, he would “of course” support President Obama’s agenda. “Obama needs some support up there,” he said. “But people are getting sick of the partisanship and the fighting.”
Spoken like a true independent.
And that, my friends, is the political play of the week.
Related: For a great breakdown of the District’s demographics, click here (and stay to read more posts by the blogger with the best handle ever, “Geniusofdespair…”) A clip:
This district at the historical center of black Miami defies conventional stereotypes. Its densely textured population is officially 56.9 percent black, 32.9 percent white, and 22.1 percent Hispanic, with a 2000 median income just above $30,000. Roughly 39 percent of its 639,000 residents are foreign-born.
Vereen’s campaign website can be found here.