Dirty Politics
9:06 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Campaign For State House Seat In Miami Becomes Ugly Personal Fight

Credit MyFloridaHouse.gov

One of the ugliest primary races in the state is going on here in South Florida.

Gus Barreiro and Alex De la Portilla, both former Republican state lawmakers, are battling it out for a Florida House seat in Miami.

Their race has become a messy fight with a series of slurs against each man’s moral character.

They also have quite a bit in common.

Both men come from political families, as well as a past as state lawmakers in the Florida Legislature. 

However, both also happen to have controversial histories, which have become the centerpiece for this Republican primary.

Jose Javier Rodriguez, who is a Democrat running for the same state House seat, is likely to be the challenger to whomever wins in this contentious Republican primary.

He said his campaign has been preparing for the upcoming general election.

“I think the way this affects my race is that is really just unfortunate for the voters," Rodriguez said. "Really these elections should be about issues."

A political committee backing Barreiro sent out mailers about De la Portilla’s messy divorce a few years ago.

De la Portilla supporters have been phoning residents about Barreiro being fired in 2009 from the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Barreiro was fired in 2009 for accessing pornographic websites on his work computer.

Rodriguez said voters are short-changed when a campaign becomes increasingly negative.

"It really just makes it an unfortunate environment because so much of the discussion is about this slugfest-- this personality contest in the Republican primary, when it should be about the issues,” he said.