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There’s drama in the last days of the 2020 campaign for a seat in a South Florida city well known for its shopping and high-end condos.
The trouble has been brewing for days but now has gone over the edge with police called to intervene.
The Northeast Dade Library is the early voting location for the areas of northeast Miami-Dade County including Aventura, North Miami Beach, and Sunny Isles and there’s been a firestorm over the last two days.
The way the parking lot is designed, a section of it is public property owned by Miami-Dade, and no campaign signs are allowed with 150 foot of the entrance. However, the other section is privately owned but there is only a small section that’s not asphalt, so there’s not much room for signs.
In cell phone video NBC 6 obtained, taken outside the early voting location in Aventura Thursday, a dispute between two political campaigns is seen. It was provided by Joshua Mandall, a candidate for the Aventura City Commission.
Mandall’s mother said she was struck by Rachel Friedland, a woman running for the same commission seat as her son. Joshua Mandall called the police, who responded to the scene.
Cellphone video of a dispute over campaign signs in Aventura
“I was attacked by Rachel, another candidate going against my son,” Lisa Mandall said.
On Friday afternoon between tense moments outside the polling place, Lisa Mandall said that Friedland struck her when she was putting a sign in the ground.
“I was putting a sign down and as I was putting the sign down she said ‘I don’t think so’ and when I said ‘I don’t think so’ she actually shoved me and then she took the sign and dug it into my hand,” Mandall said.
Friedland denied the allegation.
“Unequivocally deny that and I have been falsely accused and I will take legal action. I am an attorney, I would never jeopardize my reputation, my childrens’ reputation. I don’t touch peoples’ signs. That’s criminal behavior and I don’t touch other people,” Friedland said.
Friedland on Friday had a GoPro camera on her arm to record what was happening as both candidates made last minutes pitches to voters, just a few feet from each other at times.
The police report from the incident said that both women suffered minor injuries.
A list of candidates or those supporting them discussed a host of horror stories about the disputes over the signs at the polling location.
“They are putting too many signs. They are not giving enough area for another person to put a sign, at least one sign. When you say something to them they get mad and yell at you,” said Steven Martinez, a supporter of McKenie Fleurimond.
There are numerous candidates who said that it was unfair when the owner of the private property early Friday morning sent its security out to say no political signs of any kind would be allowed on their property at all, none on cars either. The Miami Dade Elections Department said they have nothing to do with what happens on the private parking lot adjacent to the polling place.