Miami Republican Vance Aloupis just released what may be one of the best ads in Florida so far this cycle.
Launching his ad entitled “Dominoes” this week in his bid for House District 115, Aloupis uses a cultural touchstone to connect with a community he hopes to represent in the Legislature.
The ad hits all the notes it needs to — while Aloupis is a strong candidate and fluent in Spanish, he isn’t of Cuban descent and has an odd name for a Republican primary in Miami. Instead of running away from that, his political team of Alex Miranda and Brad Herold chose to lean into it.
The Spanish-language ad opens with a pair of men playing dominoes and talking politics. One of the men says he’s “getting tired of all these career politicians,” and the other says “what about Vance Aloupis?”
Rather than passing off “Aloupis” as a typical name for the majority Hispanic district, the ad pokes fun by making it a source of humor — when the first man hears the name, he says “A-Que?”
His friend gives him a bit of help by sounding it out: “A-lou-pis.”
He then talks about the first-time candidate’s conservative credentials for a bit before his friend is convinced, though he says he’s still “not sure about the name.” That’s when Aloupis shows up. After announcing himself he holds up a domino, saying “Yo soy le ficha,” a popular Cuban domino term that also implies Vance “is your candidate.”
Unlike many ads aired by state House candidates, this one is devoid of b-roll and voice-overs and is primed to stand out among the dozens of ads for House, Senate, congressional and gubernatorial candidates saturating the airwaves. If it hits the mark with early voters, they’ll likely remember Aloupis’ name when their mail ballots arrive, too.
Aloupis, an attorney who works as the CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida, is one of six candidates running for HD 115, the seat currently held by term-limited Republican Rep. Michael Bileca. He faces Jose Fernandez, Carlos Gobel, and Rhonda Lopez in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. Jeffrey Solomon and James Linwood Schulman are competing for the Democratic nomination.
The past week has seen Aloupis pick up some major endorsements, first from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and then from the Florida Realtors, the state’s largest professional trade association. Prior endorsements include a nod from Bileca, who cited his work with the Children’s Movement and called him a “man of integrity who will represent District 115 in Tallahassee with distinction.”
His campaign finance reports are also rosy. As of July 6, Aloupis led the field in true fundraising with about $271,000 raised and $131,000 in the bank, though his competitors have kept up by juicing their campaigns with candidate loans.
Fernandez has anteed up $280,000 and raised $110,000 and has $250,000 on hand; Lopez has put down $200,000 in loans in addition to her $70,000 in fundraising and has $163,000 in the bank. Gobel is in a distant fourth place with about $15,000 raised and less than $5,000 in the bank.
HD 115 covers an inland strip of Miami-Dade County, including parts of Miami, Pinecrest, South Miami and Palmetto Bay. Like many majority Hispanic districts, HD 115 soundly rejected Donald Trump at the top of the ticket while voting to retain a Republican lawmaker — Bileca won with 54 percent of the vote, and past elections have seen him win by as much as 59-41 over a Democratic challenger.
Aloupis’ ad, along with an English translation, is below.
“I’m getting tired of all these career politicians.”
“What about Vance Aloupis?”
“Is Aloupis Conservative?”
“Lifelong Conservative. He’ll cut taxes. Create jobs. And make sure that our kids get a world class education.”
“I like that. I’m not sure about the name though.”
“Hey, I’m sitting right here … Yo soy le ficha.”