Lamar will take us far. As far as jail, anyway.
Lamar was one of the personae adopted by Justin Sternad, South Florida’s now infamous fake politician. In one of his more endearing incarnations, Justin impersonated a brave, black candidate. His mailer included the slogan, “Lamar will take us far,” the trademark “O” (appropriated from the Obama campaign), and the requisite quote from Martin Luther King: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
Lately, Lamar’s friends — acting on the advice of their attorneys — have gone memorably silent.
That particular campaign flier did not include the candidate’s actual photograph, perhaps because he looked a bit more like a Justin from Nebraska than a Lamar from Liberty City. More like a white, slightly jowly young Republican than a viable black alternative to congressional candidate Joe Garcia in the Democratic primary.
To his credit, Justin Lamar Sternad, a native of Omaha, attempted to clear up misunderstandings about his race with a cryptic e-mail to The Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo after Marc had suggested that Sternad’s mailers were a bit misleading. Lamar… or maybe it was Justin… wrote, “You can kiss my ‘lily white’ ass.”
Race hasn’t been only mystery dogging Justin/Lamar. One wonders how this nominal Democrat came to have so many crucial Republican connections. How did a political neophyte, a no-name Democrat with little to show in the way of campaign contributions (other than eleven grand he loaned himself) manage to lure the services of a campaign consultant like Ana Alliegro, the self-described “Republican Political Guru and Conservative Bad Girl?”
When Ana’s bad, she seems to be very bad indeed.
In one of the great, cosmic coincidences of Lamar’s brief political career, it happens that Alliegro also has close ties to Republican U.S. Rep. David Rivera, the very fellow who would have been Sternad’s opponent had he managed to upset Garcia in the Democratic primary. (About as likely as Lamar landing his own talk show on BET. Garcia won the primary with 53 percent of the vote.) Miami New Times found photos of the smiling Alliegro with her buddy Rivera scattered about on her Facebook and Instagram accounts. David and his favorite bad girl guru.
The other mystery — one that may take the FBI to solve — has to do with the money Sternad invested in his quixotic and very nasty campaign against Garcia. It was like magic. Here was this $30,000-a-year hotel worker with an unemployed wife and four children to feed, a political unknown who up and decides to launch his own congressional campaign. It seemed about as likely as me teaming up with Dave Barry to enter the synchronized swimming competition in the London Olympics. Because, you know, Dave ain’t that pretty, I ain’t that spry and Justin/Lamar ain’t nobody anyone has ever heard of.
Yet, as Caputo noted, this fellow of limited wealth reported that he loaned himself $10,878, exhausting all but $438 just to cover his filing fee. That didn’t leave much left over to finance a serious political campaign. Yet Sternad managed a budgeting feat that, if he could work the same magic in Washington, would solve the national deficit with trillions to spare.