Back in the 1970s, dozens of mafia dons and hundreds of their associates migrated to South Florida from New Jersey to elude a dogged crime commission investigator named Joe Rodriguez. The long-running wave of relocation became known as the “Jersey Flu,” and forever changed the character of the area, particularly in terms of our cuisine. To this day, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are home to a roster of excellent Italian restaurants.
Florida is experiencing a similarly ominous, albeit it much smaller, gathering of like-minded rich and powerful men today, in the form of a cluster of probable/possible/potential Republican presidential candidates. At this writing, no fewer than four of the 15-or-so contenders for the 2016 GOP nomination are Florida residents. They are:
– Mike Huckabee, who recently built a $3-million mansion in the panhandle town of Santa Rosa Beach, allegedly pulling some political strings along the way to get the monstrosity permitted
– Ben Carson, who bought a golf course home in Palm Beach County in 2013 from Pittsburgh Steelers/Palm Beach Kennel Club magnate John Rooney for $775,000 — about half of what it cost Rooney, who also happens to be related to a U.S. Congressman (Tom) and a state legislator (Patrick)
– Jeb Bush, who moved up to a $1.3 million townhouse in Coral Gables in 2012 from a house nearby that he sold at a loss, for $775,000
– Marco Rubio, who brings up the rear, dollar-wise, with a cozy home in the West Miami neighborhood of El Retiro (which means “The Retreat”) re-listed in December for sale at $696,000 after sitting on the market for a year or more at $630,000
Whether more POTUS hopefuls are on the way, and what it all means to Florida, or politics, or Florida politics, is anyone’s guess. (What kind of food do these guys eat?) But see if you can match the homes to the candidates…