Former Miami State Senator Daphne Campbell, one of the most ethically challenged people to ever hold office in Florida, has filed to run for office once again. She did so in the most characteristically “Daphne” way possible: By kinda-sorta hinting that she was not living in the correct district when she last held office — which is a misdemeanor crime.
This, obviously, raises basic questions about what district she really lives in, especially since she’s faced similar criticism in the past. Reached via phone today, Campbell stressed that she’s never violated state residency law. She said she’s always lived in the correct district, and simply felt “blessed” that losing in 2018 allowed her to move back into her “family home” in District 35. She said she was planning on having a housewarming party in the next few weeks, and that she would invite journalists in order to show off where she was living.
“The night I lost, it was very good to me to go back to my home!” she said in her characteristically booming voice. “I left my home for six years! left my children for six years! I have a beautiful home, and I’m glad to go back to it.”
Of course, in July she was accused of never moving out of that home in the first place. The Florida Constitution requires representatives to live in the districts they represent — normally, it would seem mildly sketchy for a candidate to lose an election in one district and then magically “move” to another part of the state and file to run for office again a few months later. (Former State Rep. Daisy Baez resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge in 2017 after former Herald and now New York Times reporter Patricia Mazzei caught her living outside her district.)
But Campbell’s issues are more obvious than that. Last July, the Miami Herald reported that Campbell all but certainly was not living in District 38. Campbell’s former chief-of-staff, Nacivre “Charlie” Charles, told the newspaper Campbell lived outside the boundaries and then added that Campbell is a “liar about almost everything.” Campbell’s family owns a series of (allegedly severely mismanaged) nursing homes, as well as a massive network of South Florida properties.
For what it’s worth, Campbell did at one point live in the correct area back when she first ran for State House District 108. She was living in a Caroll Heights home on Northeast Fourth Avenue at the time. She still owns that property. But in 2011, the state re-drew the legislature’s district maps, and Campbell’s family property no longer was included in District 108’s boundaries. Charles, her former chief-of-staff, admitted to the Herald that Campbell simply never moved out of the house.
Via phone today, Campbell begged New Times not to mention anything that Charles told the Herald last year.
“What’s Charlie got to do with this?” she said. “Charlie doesn’t know anything. That’s a lie. That’s a lie. Charlie cannot tell you if I moved or did not move.” She added: “Please don’t put anything related to Charlie in this. Please. No one can tell you about where I lived. That was six months ago. August, September, October, November, December! Six months ago. I was in District 38, but the night I lost, I felt I was glad to go back to my beautiful home! I have a beautiful home! What’s the problem? You cannot live in your own home? What is the big deal?”
The Herald was ultimately unable to determine exactly which property Campbell was using as a home base — the candidate said she was living rent-free in a North Miami Beach property owned by a woman she oddly referred to has her “sister.” (Campbell has a weird habit of claiming random people as her “family members” — last year, New Times caught Campbell lying about needing to care for a “sick mother” living in her home. In fact, her actual mother had been dead for years, but Campbell dubiously claimed she simply referred to another woman as her “mother” due to their close relationship.)
But now, Campbell is moving back to District 35. She told Florida Politics today that “God gave me an opportunity to go back home and I am home.” That all-but-certainly refers to the fact that her longtime alleged home sits, once again, in District 35.
Campbell had previously lied outright to New Times over the phone: After this reporter tried calling her to ask about her long history of financial issues and home-foreclosures, Campbell claimed her name was “Rose” and that she did not know anyone named Daphne Campbell. Campbell also has a habit of calling the cops on critical reporters. Earlier this year, she called the police on two journalists who’d simply tried to ask her some tough questions.
Now, Campbell says she just wants to return to office to “continue helping people.”
“I don’t do nothing wrong,” she said. “I don’t steal. I do work. I’m a nurse. I don’t do anything bad. Anything. You always try to picture me in a negative way. It’s not fair.”
She then invited New Times to attend a party at her new/old/longtime home in order to “clear up” any residency issues she may have had in the past.
“I knew I was going to get all these questions,” she said. “I’m gonna be doing something by my house. Can you come? It will be a get-together, we’ll have friends, I’ll invite you. You guys could come and be there. That would answer all your questions! Let’s start 2019 on a new foot.”