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Problems plague Campbell in tough re-election bid

Incident, ethical problems hurt legislator’s bid to keep her seat

Erick Johnson | 8/21/2014, noon

State Rep. Daphne Campbell is under investigation for an intense confrontation that may cost the embattled legislator her re-election bid next week.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief accused Campbell’s brother-in-law of pulling a gun on her during an argument over politics two weeks ago in the parking lot of the WAVS Caribbean radio station in Davie. Daphne Campbell’s brother-in-law, Jeremiah Campbell, allegedly emerged from the station with a gun in his hand, according to story aired on WPLG Channel 10 Monday evening.

Sharief told the station that she feared for her life.

“He didn’t point the gun at me. He pointed his other hand at me. He proceeded to yell at me and my husband and he said he would bust my husband in the head.”

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Campbell

In an interview with the station, Campbell denied Sharief’s claims that she was threatened with a gun.

In the story, Campbell said she was angry that Sharief had listed her in various publications as having endorsed her re-election campaign, when, in fact, she said she was endorsing Sharief’s opponent, Alexandra Davis.

“There was no gun,” Campbell told the station. “No one had a gun, no one talked about a gun, (there was) no physical aggressive behavior at all. She’s a liar.”

The Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating the allegations.

Campbell did not return phone calls from The Miami Times seeking comment for this story.

Campbell’s past ethical problems have made her vulnerable to promising contenders seeking to defeat her for the District 108 seat in the Florida House of Representatives in the primaries.

The primary race between Campbell and her opponents, Taj Echoles and Michael Hepburn, will be closely watched as the incumbent seeks a second term in a district that serves a portion of Liberty City, Miami, El Portal, Biscayne Park, Miami Shores, West Little River and a large swath of North Dade.

A third candidate, Cedon Saintil Jr., is running as an Independent. He will face the winner of the Aug. 26 primary in the general election in November.

Born in Haiti, Campbell was elected to the District 108 seat in 2010. Following a reconfiguration of her district in 2012, Campbell was re-elected after easily defeating her opponents, Alix Desulme and Pat Santangelo by taking 60 percent of the vote in the primaries. She went unopposed in the general election to win her second term.

Although the bill died in the GOP-dominated Legislature, Campbell has supported raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.10. She helped pass a law that prohibits the employment of minors in adult theaters. The law also allows the criminal history records — if they are not convictions — of victims of human trafficking to be expunged. In the past, some of Campbell’s decisions in the Legislature have been relatively conservative and at odds with the Florida Democratic Party.

ETHICAL PROBLEMS

But a series of ethical problems may cost Campbell another term in office. After her family minivan racked up five tickets for running red lights, Campbell sponsored legislation to ban red-light cameras. In 2012, the Internal Revenue Service placed $140,000 worth of liens on Campbell and her husband, Hubert, after dozens of businesses claimed they were scammed by Campbell’s family-owned health care businesses.