‘Uncle Luke’ Campbell Gets a Surprising Number of Votes in Miami

Although he lost the election, the former 2 Live Crew frontman argues that his 'grassroots' run marks the beginning of his peoples-centered political career, not the end.

By Akiba Solomon May 25, 2011

With 20,652 votes, Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell placed fourth in the Miami mayoral election. Since none of the candidates in the yesterday’s election secured the required 50 percent to win, two career politicians–Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina and former Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez–will proceed to a June 28th runoff.

Campbell’s campaign emphasized unpopular issues that directly impact poor black voters in neighborhoods such as Liberty City, Overtown and Richmond Heights, including felony disenfranchisement and prison privatization, police brutality, and term limits for county commissioners. He also pledged to save embattled public hospitals, remove blight from poor neighborhoods without gentrifying them, and support cultural programs.

Despite his progressive ideas, the former porn purveyor received the most national attention for his so-called stripper tax. Critics I expressed concern that the proposed tax– actually a registration fee similar to other cities’–would lead to the double taxation of Miami’s exotic dancers who already contribute to state coffers via the fees they pay club owners and the revenue they generate through alcohol sales. Some of his statements regarding "strippers with pimps" also raised a red flag for critics me.  

In a concession speech/rally last night, Campbell thanked supporters of his "grassroots" campaign for creating political leverage:

"[We did this] in 45 days with no money, just grassroots. Five dollars here, five dollars there. I mean we did something incredible that nobody expected us to do. … We started off as a joke; I feel like right now people take us seriously. And I’d like to say we did it in 45 days with less than $10,000, all volunteers, 100 percent. We had fundraisers where we would raise $50 and fundraisers where we would raise $500 and that was more important than taking any special interest money. I mean, we could have easily taken hundreds of thousands of dollars but we didn’t do that because we wanted to stay true to the people, and that’s what it’s all about: staying true to the people."

Campbell is reportedly considering another mayoral run in 2012. Hopefully, by then, he’ll have the whole sexism thing sorted out.