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Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald

Patricia Mazzei

Patricia Mazzei is the political writer for the Miami Herald. She joined the newspaper in 2007 after graduating from the University of Miami. Her previous beats include congressional and state legislative politics, Miami-Dade County Hall, Miami City Hall and Broward County public schools. Born and raised in Venezuela, she is fluent in Spanish.

Phone: (305) 376‑3350

E-mail: pmazzei@miamiherald.com

Twitter: @PatriciaMazzei

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  1. Latvala on if he'd make a better governor than Putnam: 'Oh absolutely'

    Blog

    Senate Budget Chief Jack Latvala did not hold back when asked in a local Miami TV interview Sunday about his potential Republican rivals in the 2018 governor's race.

    Would Latvala, a Clearwater senator who has yet to declare a bid, make a better governor than Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who has?

    "Oh, absolutely," Latvala told WFOR-CBS 4's Jim DeFede on "Facing South Florida." "Because I've actually made a payroll. I've actually paid workers comp claims. I've been in business all these years, while Adam has been in elected office since he was 22 years old."...

    Latvala
  2. Black lawmaker: I was called 'monkey' at protest to change Confederate street signs

    Blog

    A black state legislator says he was called a "n-----" and a "monkey" Wednesday by pro-Confederates who want Hollywood to keep three roads named after Confederate generals, including one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Rep. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, tweeted Wednesday that he was also told "to go back where I came from" at a protest outside Hollywood City Hall that resulted in the arrest of five people who interrupted a commission meeting. The board was not taking up the street names....

    Rep. Shevrin Jones.
  3. Florida Democratic Party chairman keeps job, for now

    Blog

    Two top African-American Democrats in the Florida Legislature aired their grievances Tuesday with Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel, reaching an apparent truce — for now — after Bittel called black lawmakers “childish.”

    Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens and future House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee of Miami stopped short of asking Bittel for his resignation during a two-hour-long private meeting at Bittel’s Miami Beach office Tuesday....

    Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel, and future House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee of Miami.
  4. Florida Democrats' night ends in acrimony over chairman’s racial remarks

    Blog

    The Florida Democratic Party’s big annual fundraiser ended in acrimony Saturday night after Stephen Bittel, the party chairman, dismissed anger from lawmakers who didn’t get introduced on stage as a “childish” complaint from African-American legislators.

    Bittel also said that state Sen. Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens, the Senate Democratic leader who had expressed lawmakers’ unhappiness to the chairman, was acting like “a 3-year-old.” Bittel has since apologized....

    Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel, left, and state Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens.
  5. Joe Biden to Florida Democrats: 'We're better than this'

    Blog

    Still recovering from a crushing November loss, Florida Democrats turned to the 2018 election cycle Saturday with the help of the man who remains their party’s biggest cheerleader: former Vice President Joe Biden.

    Without ever mentioning President Donald Trump, Biden rejected the new president’s rhetoric and assured Democrats there is a way for them to recover their political standing....

    Former Vice President Joe Biden fired up Florida Democrats on Saturday night in Hollywood.
  6. Joe Biden assures Florida Democrats they can recover from Trump's triumph

    State Roundup

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Still recovering from a crushing November loss, Florida Democrats turned to the 2018 election cycle Saturday with the help of the man who remains their party's biggest cheerleader: former Vice President Joe Biden.

    Without ever mentioning President Donald Trump, Biden rejected the new president's rhetoric and assured Democrats there is a way for them to recover their political standing....

    Former Vice President Joe Biden addresses Florida Democrats on Saturday night in Hollywood, Fla. (Miami Herald)
  7. Few differences in first Democratic gov forum

    Blog

    Unwilling to attack each other this early in the 2018 campaign for Florida governor, the three Democrats running so far chose a different opponent Saturday: President Donald Trump.

    “The biggest challenge we have facing the United States is without question Donald Trump,” said former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee. “And quite honestly, he’s the biggest challenge facing the world as well.”...

    Andrew Gillum, Chris King and Gwen Graham at the gubernatorial forum Saturday in Hollywood.
  8. Trump is chief foe of Democrats running for Florida governor — for now

    State Roundup

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Unwilling to attack each other this early in the 2018 campaign for Florida governor, the three Democrats running so far chose a different opponent Saturday: President Donald Trump.

    "The biggest challenge we have facing the United States is without question Donald Trump," said former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee. "And quite honestly, he's the biggest challenge facing the world as well."...

    Andrew Gillum, Chris King and Gwen Graham participate in a Democratic gubernatorial forum Saturday in Hollywood, Fla. (Miami Herald)
  9. Trump policy to take harder line on Cuba

    Blog

    In an overhaul of one of his predecessor's signature legacies, President Donald Trump will redraw U.S. policy toward Cuba on Friday, tightening travel restrictions for Americans that had been loosened under President Barack Obama and banning U.S. business transactions with Cuba's vast military conglomerate.

    Trump's changes, shared Thursday with the Miami Herald, are intended to sharply curtail cash flow to the Cuban government and pressure its communist leaders to let the island's fledgling private sector grow. Diplomatic relations reestablished by Obama, including reopened embassies in Washington and Havana, will remain. Travel and money sent by Cuban Americans will be unaffected....

  10. Digital ad campaign from Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity targets Bill Nelson

    Blog

    Americans for Prosperity, the conservative political group financed by the industrialist Koch brothers, is launching a new, six-figure digital ad campaign targeting Florida Sen. Bill Nelson on tax reform.

    AFP wants Nelson, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, to follow its principles for comprehensive tax reform. It's an unlikely request, given that Nelson is a Democrat.

    Nelson is also running for reelection next year, and is expected to face a serious challenge from Republican Gov. Rick Scott....

    A new ad targets Sen. Bill Nelson.
  11. U2's Bono gives Rubio a shout-out in Miami

    Blog

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was in the audience when U2 performed in Miami Gardens on Sunday -- and it sounds like band frontman Bono knew it.

    The Irish singer gave the Republican senator a shoutout in a monologue during the band's encore, according to people who attended the concert, apparently over Rubio's support for programs that combat the AIDS virus. Bono then launched into "One," a song U2 released in the early 1990s as a single to benefit AIDS research....

  12. In Miami Senate race, it all comes back to the Marlins

    Blog

    The tweets exchanged Sunday between two Miami Republicans running to replace former Sen. Frank Artiles seemed simple enough.

    Former Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla opposed public funding for a potential Major League Soccer stadium. His opponent, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, a lawyer and registered County Hall lobbyist for the investors pitching the stadium, is trailing the well-known Diaz de la Portilla in early polls.Diaz replied to Diaz de la Portilla with a couple of links to stories from 2006 and 2007, when Diaz de la Portilla favored legislative proposals to benefit the Marlins' quest for a baseball stadium. ...

    Marlins Stadium
  13. Whatever: Corcoran shrugs off questions about climate change

    Blog

    Of Florida’s top three Republican leaders, only one of them — Senate President Joe Negron — is willing to say, grudgingly, that human activity contributes to climate change.

    Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran won’t go there.

    Asked repeatedly Friday if man-made climate change is real, as a broad consensus of scientists have long concluded, Corcoran refused to answer....

    Corcoran
  14. Miami pollster Sergio Bendixen dies

    Blog

    Sergio Bendixen, the first Hispanic to run a U.S. presidential campaign who later pioneered public-opinion polling among Latinos and other immigrant populations, died late Friday in Miami. He was 68.

    No cause of death was immediately available. Bendixen had been suffering from a bad cold in recent days, according to his friend and business partner, Fernand Amandi. The two ran the Coconut Grove-based Bendixen & Amandi International polling firm, though Bendixen was semi-retired....

    Sergio Bendixen.
  15. Rick Scott adds Miami House district to special summer election

    Blog

    There will now be two races on the ballot for a special Miami legislative election this summer. 

    Gov. Rick Scott decided Monday to schedule the contest to replace state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz at the same time as the already-scheduled election to replace state Sen. Frank Artiles. That's a special primary July 25 and a special general election Sept. 26....

    Rep. Jose Felix Diaz