This is part of the unlikely story of Ken Russell, the paddle-board wholesaler and once internationally known yo-yo player, who is now engaged in a heated and controversial run-off election against the irrefutable Ken Russell himself.
One must explain.
Last week Mr. Russell defeated Teresa Sarnoff, wife of incumbent County Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, for the race in the most important and hard fought election in Miami this year, or ever, at least in the eyes of some living in the district.
Despite being outfunded 10-to-1, Mr. Russell trumped Mrs. Sarnoff 41% to 23% in the general, with most of the other 36% of the votes spread among other protest candidates against the seemingly impossible to beat and charming Mrs. Sarnoff.
According to Miami law, a run-off is required if a candidate doesn't receive 50%.
And not a cool run-off, like a sprint race from Museum Park to the Intercontinental. Or, even a cooler Zoolander-esque dance off featuring David Bowie (or in Miami's case Gerald Kelly) as judge.
No. This run-off is an actual election (likely to cost taxpayers about $113,000) set for Tuesday, November 18th where we need to literally run to the polls and choose.
Except we don't. Or, do we?
Now this is when the story gets interesting.
Shortly after the general election, in a cryptic letter to the Miami Herald, Mrs. Sarnoff conceded the election to Mr. Russell, endorsing him, throwing her support behind him, all while eventually promising to officially withdraw from the election.
So, as of now, Ken Russell is basically running against himself, apparently.
But with Teresa Sarnoff on the ballot.
It's confusing because . . .
According to the Herald, City Attorney Victoria Mendez has told several of Miami's elected officials that she doesn't believe votes for Sarnoff cast Tuesday will count.
Believe? A little vague. A little prone to conspiracy theory.
Remember Mulder from The X-Files? He believed.
But, alas, it appears votes for Mrs. Sarnoff will not count.
Or, in the least, she doesn't want them too.
Mrs. Sarnoff humbly bowed out of the election in the classiest manner imaginable, graciously (GraceSolarlessly) pledging the dredges of her campaign coffers, a measly $100,000 (sans the super-pack) for awesome city issues such as animal rescue, a public trolly for the Grove, and the homeless, one could only imagine, in that order.
Mrs. Sarnoff also publicly condoned the wasteful run-off election.
Could it be that Mrs. Sarnoff is truly philanthropic reflecting the honor and political integrity of the district and city she represents? It could. Anything is possible.
Then why have this run-off election?
Because of the city charter? The rule of law?
But who knows? Maybe they need the time until the run-off so her husband can find jobs or last minute contracts for some old cronies? Totally a long shot, I mean, right?
If the city named Russell the winner, he would take office almost immediately.
Maybe the Sarnoff's know a run-off election, without early voting, will likely only draw 500 to 800 voters and, who knows, securing half of that isn't totally impossible.
Sounds so delusional, right?
I mean, it is "believed" votes for Sarnoff will not count.
This is all just laced in paranoia and conjecture. It's unimaginable.
Ken is apparently battling against just Ken.
Like an old school version of Street Fighter.
This is so old Miami. And it sounds like a game. Like a length of string looped around a spool, played by holding and throwing the free end of the string to allow gravity to unwind the string and then wind itself back up into one's hands. Like a yo-yo.
One of the most basic tricks in yo-yoing is called the sleeper, where the yo-yo spins at the end of the string for a noticeable amount of time before returning to the hand.
Many yo-yo tricks are done while the yo-yo is said to be sleeping.
Ken Russell would know this.
Growing up the child of professional yo-yo players, his father, Jack Russell (no relationship to the terrier, contrary to the beliefs of his haters) held an early patent on a mass-produced yo-yo. The Russell's invented the yo-yo, or a version. As a teenager, Russell toured internationally as a pro yo-yo player. After his father retired, he managed the family business and sold millions of them. If anyone knows yo-yo's, it's Ken Russell. And there may lie the cosmic irony in this whole thing.
Miami politics is filled with yo yo's.
We can only hope the yo-yo king helps end Miami's yo-yo politics.