How do you distinguish yourself from 16 other candidates running to be Miami-Dade County’s first elected Sheriff since the 1960s?
According to Jeffrey Giordano, the race’s latest entrant, you lampoon them in a skit evoking a recurring “Tonight Show” character from that decade, Carnac the Magnificent.
And you challenge them to a few rounds of punch-face.
In a video posted Friday to YouTube, Giordano — a retired police officer-turned-private investigator — donned a turban and cape similar to Johnny Carson’s clairvoyant character while lobbing insulting nicknames at his opponents. His onscreen persona: “Gino the Magnificent.”
“Gino” called fellow Republican and cop-turned-lawyer Iggy Alvarez the “Master of Illegal Acrobats” because Alvarez’s criminal defense work means he is “trying to get (lawbreakers) out of jail while we’re trying to put them in.”
Democratic candidate Susan Khoury, an ex-federal agent who successfully sued the county for unjust arrest, received the moniker “Bondage Susie” for “tying (police officer’s) hands instead of letting them do their job.”
Giordano issued other unflattering sobriquets to retired Miami-Dade Police Lt. Rickey Mitchell, a Democrat; and Miami-Dade Police officer Jaspen Bishop, Miami City Police officer Ruamen DelaRua, retired Miami-Dade Police reserve officer Alex Fornet and retired Miami-Dade sergeant and police union President John Rivera — all Republicans.
“Gino” also accused Republican Miami-Dade Police Major Mario Knapp, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, of faking an injury to get out of a charity boxing competition to which he invited every candidate.
“We need a Sheriff with some balls, not one that’s going to hide from fundraisers for the community,” he said, adding that the tournament has been delayed to April. “Knapp, you can participate, so don’t run away.”
In a brief phone conversation Tuesday, Giordano told Florida Politics he’s organized several boxing exhibitions to raise money for injured officers and spina bifida research. This one, he said, will benefit the nonprofit Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which provides homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families.
If elected Sheriff, Giordano said his top priority is to improve response times to school emergencies by reallocating resources and relocating police operation centers closer to campuses. In explaining his proposal, he criticized the federal government for sending foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel while being largely ineffective in curbing school shootings.
Having cops work closer to the schools and conduct some of their meetings on school grounds, he said, should make a difference.
“The message I want to get to these bad guys is if you go into these schools and hurt these kids, there’s not going to be any giving up,” he said. “The response time is going to be so swift, with officers coming in and out, that they’ll be leaving in a body bag.”
Giordano said he also wants to expand condo fraud investigation efforts, increase the number of K-9 units in the county to crack down on illegal drugs, particularly fentanyl, and collaborate with city and federal police agencies to develop “one of the largest anti-illegal immigration task forces in the nation,” complete with a DNA database for previously undocumented migrants.
“We have the resources and manpower,” he said. “Let’s make this one of the most lawful counties in the country.”
According to his LinkedIn page, Giordano is a 27-year veteran of the Miami City Police Department, where he worked as a hostage negotiator, undercover officer, detective and public information officer.
In keeping with his “Gino the Magnificent” schtick, an advisory his campaign announced for an 11 a.m. Wednesday press conference at the Heat Food Market in Liberty City described him as “the only Sheriff’s candidate with a sixth sense.”