Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Daniella Levine Cava is pushing back against a negative mailer attacking her record while on the Miami-Dade County Commission.
The mailers dropped last month. At the time, her team blamed supporters of two of her opponents in the mayoral race. On Thursday, Senior Advisor Christian Ulvert focused on one.
“All indications continue to show that it’s being backed by similar interests that have donated to one of our main opponents, former Mayor Alex Penelas,” he argued.
“We all know that they’re full of lies and misinformation.”
To be clear, there’s no direct involvement from Penelas. Instead, the Levine Cava campaign has pointed to a chain of donations showing the groupsbehind the mailers — True Progressive LLC — is connected to donors who have supported the Penelas and Esteban Bovo campaigns.
The Penelas campaign has denied any connection.
“Commissioner Levine Cava knows that the Penelas campaign and Bold Vision Committee have nothing to do with the mailers that were distributed,” a Penelas spokesperson said.
“This is an effort to shamelessly portray herself as a victim and raise money for her campaign. The ultimate hypocrisy is that she attempts to defend herself against claims she says are false by trying to discredit Alex Penelas and his record of accomplishment, which will always stand head and shoulders above hers. As someone who wants to be Mayor, Commissioner Levine Cava should hold herself to higher standard.”
The mailer attacks Levine Cava for failing to support “critical funding to help with affordable housing [and] rental assistance” during her time representing District 8 on the Commission. It also points to her private wealth, much of which she earned before joining local government.
“She is an out of touch elitist who has gotten rich while serving on the County Commission,” the mailer says. “Levine Cava’s net worth has skyrocketed, nearly doubling to $8.5 million. She even supported raising her own pay to $100,000. While we lose vital services and get taxed, Levine Cava gets rich!”
During Thursday’s call, Levine Cava supporters such as Sen. Oscar Braynon II and Annette Taddeo and Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime pushed back against the mailer’s claims.
“She’s been a colleague, she’s been a friend and she’s been a champion for the most vulnerable,” Monestime said. He endorsed Levine Cava earlier this week.
Taddeo also doubted the mailer would have much of an impact in the race.
“You know why it doesn’t work? Because we know Daniella. We know she’s a progressive champion. We know she’s someone who has been there for the community. We know that she truly cares.”
According to records, True Progressives LLC was established with the same address as originally used by Twenty-Two Metrics LLC, an organization run by Alex Alvarado. Twenty-Two Metrics has since swapped its principal address.
Twenty-Two Metrics has also received $45,000 from an organization called Floridians for Economic Advancement. That group has also funneled $1,000 to the Bovo campaign.
Another organization, Floridians for a Stronger Democracy, has sent more than $200,000 to Floridians for Economic Advancement. Floridians for a Stronger Democracy has also donated $10,000 to Bovo’s PC and $30,000 to Penelas’ PC.
Levine Cava’s team is using that money chain to assert her opponents bear some responsibility for the mailers.
Supporters such as Braynon are undeterred.
“I am very excited, fired up and ready to get out there and work and make sure that we have the catalyst for change in 2020,” he said.
Levine Cava is competing in the seven-person field against Carlos Antonio De Armas, entrepreneur Monique Nicole Barley, County Commissioners Bovo and Xavier Suarez, real estate agent Ludmilla Domond and former County Mayor Penelas.