Press conference recording here
Miami, FL– Following the arrest of Frank Artiles for his crimes of egregious election fraud Senate District 37 election, the Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz hosted a press conference along with Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer, Senator Perry Thurston and Former Representative Javier Fernandez. During the press conference they called on Senator Ileana Garcia to resign immediately and trigger a special election. It is clear that she was not elected in a free and fair manner and the people of Senate District 37 deserve better.
The Chair and the legislators also called for a broader investigation by the Justice Department, as it does not seem like this was a one-off occurrence but a part of a pattern of behavior by Republican operatives in this state. Finally, the Senators led the call for Republicans in the Senate to address this election fraud and campaign finance reform in the legislative session.
NOTE: Chair Diaz and Representative Fernandez also gave remarks and answered questions in Spanish during the second half of the press conference.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz:
“The public has the right to know if this is a one-off or a pattern of behavior. As a self proclaimed republican operative, is the work of one rogue character or was Frank Artiles acting under the direction of his leaders? Where did he get the 40 thousand dollars?… This is a very serious situation…. This type of activity calls into question the very integrity of our electoral process. We should not and we will not allow anyone to compromise the integrity of our elections.
“We must demand that our legislature adopt campaign finance reform to make our elections safer and our democracy stronger. Their focus should be rooting out this type of corruption and fraud in our democracy. Instead they are doing the opposite and focusing on voter suppression and vote by mail fraud that does not exist.”
Senator and Minority Leader Gary Farmer
“People need to know and believe that their elections are being handled fairly. This election in Senate District 37 was manipulated and it was decided by 32 votes. So it is clear that the manipulation had an impact on the outcome of the election. It is especially disturbing to us as Democrats because this is not the first time we have seen something like this occur… The best way to make sure this doesn’t occur again is to redo the election in SD 37 and ensure that we have a fair election and pass laws that protect the integrity of our elections.”
Senator Perry Thurston
“It is a sad day in the State of Florida. It is ironic and hypocritical…. we are here right now addressing bills that purport to get at the fraud that’s in our election system and quite frankly they are voter suppression bills that are camouflaged as voter fraud bills.”
“Why not instead focus on this actual fraud. Let’s look at campaign finance reform, how about we look at more transparency, how about we look right at the activities here in SD 37.”
Representative Javier Fernandez
“This investigation should be expanded. It is my belief that they will find Artiles’ involvement in other elections around the state where there has been fraudulent activity. including my special election in 2018.
“What’s at stake here is the integrity of our election system… In this case, nothing short of Garcias resignation and a special election will restore confidence in our elections here in South Florida”