M-D Transit Board Member Resigns Amidst Scott’s Hispanic Problems
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Another high-profile Hispanic official has tendered his resignation to Governor Rick Scott as the political fallout from the resignation of top fundraiser Mike Fernandez continues to plague the campaign.
Thursday, Miami-Dade Transit Board member Gonzalo Sanabria resigned his position “effective immediately and due to your perceived insensitivity to loyal supporters and our Hispanic community in Florida.”
Sanabria had been the Governor’s appointee on the board of Miami-Dade Transit, but he was especially angry at the treatment of Fernandez.
“Since he has been treated in such a disparaging and disrespectful manner by your staff and ignored in his advice it is obvious that there is a great deal of dysfunction and disconnection of which I want to have no part nor can I render my support any longer as you are governing from a weak and flawed platform,” Sanabria wrote.
He continued, “The Hispanic Community of South Florida is a key component of this great State’s vibrant socio-political fabric and treating us as you have is a grave mistake as it pains me to tell you what you will find out to the chagrin of us loyal Republicans.”
Fernandez recently resigned as Scott’s top fund-raiser and ripped the gubernatorial campaign that he described as a “homogenous” team of campaign advisers too scared of Scott to disagree with him and who don’t understand the Hispanic culture of voters Scott desperately needs, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
Fernandez also claimed that two Scott campaign aides imitated a Mexican accent while driving to a Mexican restaurant. Fernandez was critical of the Hispanic outreach, or lack thereof, and said the people running Scott’s campaign don’t understand Florida or the Hispanic culture.
“I truly believe that the difference in this race is the Hispanic vote,” Fernandez wrote, according to the Herald. “But what do I know, I have only made over a billion [dollars] selling to this population.”
A member of Scott’s team recently described Fernandez to Politico as a “renegade donor,” according to the Herald.
In a separate email sent after a new Scott campaign ad debuted on television, Fernandez wrote, “I know I don’t know anything about politics nor political advertising but I know about sales. You don’t trust me because I am not willing to become a supporting cast member to the ‘Yes Team’ but trust this, my net worth exceeds $3B, and I made it because I am not stupid and I can sell!”
Fernandez also said in the email that he hopes Scott ultimately wins the November election, likely against former Governor Charlie Crist, a possible Democratic nominee.
All of the emails and resignation come as the national Republican Party tries to decide how to handle the immigration reform bill in Congress. Democrats have filed a discharge petition to try to force a floor vote on the bipartisan Senate legislation.
Despite supporting the bill, Republicans are not willing to go against leadership and support the discharge petition, which effectively kills the bill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has also said the bill will not be brought to a vote in the House.
Killing immigration reform further damages the GOP’s brand in the eyes of parts of the Hispanic Community, which is being heavily courted by Democrats at the state and national level. Polling showed President Barack Obama won approximately 70-75 percent of the Latino vote in 2012.
UPDATE 3:30 p.m.
Governor Scott’s office sent out the following statement about Sanabria’s status:
“We called Mr. Sanabria just after 11 AM today to let him know that he would not be reappointed to the MDX Board due to his votes to raise toll fees on the people of Miami-Dade. Mr. Sanabria, an appointee of the previous administration, later sent an email upset about not being reappointed. Our administration is focused on lowering the cost of living for Florida families and the Governor’s new MDX appointee, Javier Vazquez, is committed to this goal.” – Frank Collins, Governor Rick Scott’s Communications Director