Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine rolled out a meaningful video endorsement Tuesday, via San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto.
Cruz rooted the endorsement in Levine’s reaction in the immediate wake of last year’s hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico.
“Out of nowhere,” Cruz related, “I got a phone call from this guy I had never heard of, that I had never met. ‘Hi Mayor, my name is Philip Levine.’ Not Mayor of Miami Beach, just Philip Levine. ‘And I’ve been watching you and your people, and I am going to get on a plane and I’ll be there Saturday with medicine, food and supplies’.”
“So here’s this guy that doesn’t know me, that felt our pain, and was willing and able to use the power that he had in Miami to make sure that we were taken care of in San Juan and in other cities of Puerto Rico,” Cruz added. “And he just said, ‘This is from the people of Miami Beach to the people of Puerto Rico.'”
“He didn’t use the Puerto Rican tragedy as a photo op,” she said. “He didn’t go there just to get his picture taken.”
Levine accepted the endorsement with heavy praise for Cruz.
“I am so honored to receive the endorsement of Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has continued fighting for her people even when Washington turned its back on Puerto Rico,” he said. “She’s a public servant in the truest sense of the word and I’m humbled to have her support in this election.”
“Much remains to be done, both on the island and here in Florida,” Levine added. “As Governor, we will work together to do better for our Puerto Rican neighbors — we are all Americans. We will never turn our back or throw in the towel.
“Together, we will get the job done.”
The Democratic primary, per recent polls, is competitive — with Gwen Graham and Levine typically atop polls. By garnering Cruz’s endorsement, Levine certainly is better positioned to compete for the votes of the growing and increasingly influential Puerto Rican community than otherwise.