An explosive, 150-page WhatsApp chat leaked to Miami New Times appears to show members of Miami-Dade County Commission District 5 candidate Alex Diaz de la Portilla’s 2018 campaign team discussing destroying or stealing absentee ballots from voters who selected one of Diaz de la Portilla’s opponents, Zoraida Barreiro.
In one message, a campaign worker posted an image of a ballot and joked that it had been stolen. In another text, someone took a photo of a ballot and wrote “Byebye.” In a third message, someone instructed a campaign worker to “tear up the ballot good.”
Diaz de la Portilla did not initially respond to messages from New Times this afternoon, including two on his personal cellphone.
But after this story was first published, Diaz de la Portilla texted New Times and claimed the chat logs were not associated with him in any way…
If Diaz de la Portilla’s campaign really did engage in ballot fraud, it didn’t work. The former Republican state senator came in third behind Barreiro and progressive candidate Eileen Higgins. Higgins later beat Barreiro in a runoff election and became the first non-Hispanic candidate in decades to represent the area. The Miami Herald endorsed Diaz de la Portilla in that race.