That’s Luther R. Campbell, Not ‘Uncle Luke,’ Running For Miami-Dade Mayor
Exit Luke Campbell, potty-mouthed sex-rap jester and impresario. Enter Luther R. Campbell, Miami-Dade mayoral candidate. Forget transparent lingerie. It’s all about transparent government now.
And community policing.
And lower taxes.
And affordable housing.
Yes, Uncle Luke’s most definitely changed his tune.
Me So Wonky?
Not totally. There’s still a little Luke left in the candidate.
As mayor, he would look to decriminalize marijuana. And enact a tax on strippers.
It’s like the man once rapped, “I Got S–t on My Mind.’’
This is no lark. Campbell means it. He’s been meeting with voters and activists from Miami Beach to Coral Gables, making the round of churches and unions, going on Spanish-language radio, getting on the horn to raise money. He’s got a former state legislator as campaign manager. He’s got T-shirts, bumper stickers, glossy fliers, a campaign platform.
And he’s got something to say.
Since last year, Campbell has spilled the contents of his mind in “Luke’s Gospel,’’ the pugnacious and bawdy opinion column he contributes to the Miami New Times weekly, which is unabashedly plugging his candidacy. Amid dissections of race, issues and people in politics, sports, and hip-hop, Campbell has called for the heads of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Police Chief Miguel Exposito and — twice — Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
Gov. Rick Scott? A “dopehead.’’ Tea Party-friendly Sen. Marco Rubio? “Maybe the first non-white person to join the KKK.’’
Hialeah Mayor (and Miami-Dade County mayoral frontrunner) Julio Robaina? “A big, fat liar’’ for frequent flip-flops and a discretionary “slush bucket’’ provided by unwitting Hialeah taxpayers. Since there’s no accounting, Campbell must imagine how it’s spent: “A trip to PT’s, the only gentlemen’s club in Hialeah, where he can buy 89 lap dances ($25 each) or about seven-and-a-half hours of grind action, which should help Robaina stimulate his city’s economy.’’
One thing Campbell’s campaign won’t be is politics as usual.
The question now is, can he get voters to take him seriously?
Why not? asks New Times editor Chuck Strouse.
“Luke would make a better mayor than any of those stiffs out there,’’ Strouse said.
Campbell is the underdog for sure. But he starts with more name recognition than any of the other 10 candidates, an advantage in a short campaign with no incumbent, Campbell says. The election is May 24.
Now he just has to get voters to really listen, he says. Not just African-Americans: He claims a strong constituency among Cuban-Americans and other Hispanics — just enough, he believes, to maybe vault him into a runoff. He recalls the crossover appeal that made the platinum-selling 2 Live Crew, the famously raunchy rap group he fronted, even more popular among white kids than black kids, one reason he says the authorities tried to shut him down back in the day.
“I represent change. We’re going to ignite a whole new set of voters, whether African-American or Latinos or whatever,’’ Campbell says, sitting in the family room of his big Country Club of Miami home, framed gold and platinum records on the wall the only vestiges of his rap career, now well in the past. At 50, Campbell is married for the first time and the father of a toddler, his sixth child.