The Democratic primary in a special Miami state Senate race has gone from cordial to contentious, with Ana Rivas Logan getting help from an outside political group going after her better-funded opponent, Annette Taddeo.
Floridians for Accountability has pounded Taddeo in mailed campaign fliers, comparing her to President Donald Trump — perhaps the biggest bogeyman in a Democratic primary — over her family’s investments.
“What do Donald Trump and Annette Taddeo have in common?” one flier reads. “Annette Taddeo’s dirty money is a family affair,” reads another.
That, in turn, has prompted Taddeo to also compare Rivas Logan, a former Republican, to the Republican president.
“It’s Republicans who are funding the attacks [against me],” Taddeo said Sunday on WPLG-ABC 10’s “This Week in South Florida.” “That in itself speaks volumes.”
The two rivals have escalated their attacks over the past week, ahead of next Tuesday’s primary. Early voting by mail and in person is already under way. The winner of the Sept. 26 general election will replace Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, who resigned in April.
For much of the Senate District 40 campaign, it was the Republican primary among Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, former Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and attorney Lorenzo Palomares that drew the most headlines. Rivas Logan, a former state representative, with $10,425 in the bank as of June 8, trails far behind Taddeo’s $45,559.
But last month, Floridians for Accountability, which had reported no political activity for two years, disclosed $147,000 in contributions — and started going after Taddeo, a translation business owner who has lost four previous elections.
Floridians for Accountability is run by Amy Rose, a Democratic consultant in Broward County, far from the Kendall-based 40th district in Miami-Dade County. The political committee’s biggest contribution, for $112,000, came from an unlikely source: Associated Industries of Florida, a business lobby whose own PAC has endorsed Diaz, a Republican, in the race.
AIF declined to comment through a spokeswoman, who said the organization doesn’t comment on political activity. Rose said in a statement that AIF “has supported many Democrats.”
Last week, Rose told the Miami Herald in a statement that Floridians for Accountability “is proud to support” Rivas Logan.
“Floridians can’t afford the type of leadership that Taddeo will bring to Tallahassee,” Rose said.
At issue is a trust for Taddeo’s 11-year-old daughter, Sofia. Taddeo, one flier says, “invests her money in the same companies that pollute our air, drive up healthcare costs, and cause cancer.”
Taddeo, who listed the trust and its investments in her candidate financial disclosure form, says the trust was set up by her mother for her daughter. It’s run by the bank, Taddeo said, adding that she has “zero control” over its investments.
“When they include my 11-year-old daughter in the ad, that is the lowest of the low,” she told WPLG.
At a Miami Herald editorial board interview earlier this month, Taddeo called on Rivas Logan to condemn the flier. Rivas Logan didn’t, though she told WPLG she had tried to call the PAC but “they don’t answer their phones.”
“For her to tie me to that is a little bit disingenuous,” Rivas Logan said. “They’re not attacking her daughter — they’re attacking her, and the way she’s investing her family’s money.”
Taddeo’s PAC, Fight Back Florida, responded with its own flier showing Rivas Logan’s body wedged between Trump’s and Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s. As of June 30, Fight Back Florida had reported raisign $37,650.
“Ana Rivas Logan: formerly Republican, always Republican,” the mailer reads.
“I am making sure that people know of her record, and that people know that she voted for Scott’s budget,” Taddeo told WPLG.
“When I was a member of the House I was extremely moderate,” said Rivas Logan, who noted that Taddeo had run for lieutenant governor in 2014 alongside Charlie Crist, a former Republican. “Ms. Taddeo was a candidate with somebody who changed parties as well, right before the election, not years before.”
“Charlie defends Democrats over and over and over again, and he is an elected Democratic member of Congress right now,” Taddeo shot back.
Her overarching pitch, Taddeo told WPLG: “Everybody knows me as a fighter who does not quit.”
“I have the experience — while I was in the state Legislature and on the School Board— to get things done,” Rivas Logan countered. “To go up there and just fight, fight, fight and not bring anything back, you’re not solving any problems.”
An earlier version of this report misstated the name of Taddeo’s PAC and how much it had raised.