Doral Mayor Juan Carlos “J.C.” Bermudez won an endorsement Wednesday for his County Commission race from a local business owner: former President Donald Trump.
The owner of the Trump National Doral Miami resort announced his backing of Bermudez in Miami-Dade County’s District 12 race over fellow Republican Sophia Lacayo, who has used the former president’s photograph in campaign materials.
In his announcement, Trump said Lacayo “used my name and likeness in her campaign without my permission.”
“I don’t know her but I do know ‘JC’,” Trump said in a statement released by his Save America political committee. “He will never let you down!”
This is Trump’s second endorsement ahead of the Aug. 23 elections for five County Commission seats. In May, he endorsed lobbyist Kevin Cabrera, a former Trump campaign official, for the District 6 seat being vacated by term-limited Rebeca Sosa.
Bermudez and Lacayo are running for the seat being vacated by term-limited Jose “Pepe” Diaz. Lacayo owns a tax-preparation business and is a former Sweetwater commissioner who gave up her seat in 2020 after pleading guilty to perjury for lying about residency requirements for the city race.
Trump’s Cabrera endorsement announcement included false claims about President Joe Biden’s victory, saying “the 2020 Election was Rigged and Stolen.” His Bermudez endorsement doesn’t mention the 2020 election.
Before he entered politics, Trump contributed to Bermudez’s mayoral campaigns. His resort, one of the largest taxpayers in Doral, is seeking city approval for new residential and commercial construction on the property. Bermudez on Wednesday began highlighting Trump’s endorsement in social media posts as he runs in a district that the former president won by 20 points in 2020.
Bermudez is now the only county candidate backed by Trump and Miami-Dade County’s Democratic mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, who endorsed Bermudez earlier this month. Levine Cava had a lawyer demand Lacayo stop using the mayor’s photos in campaign mailers.
Miami Herald staff writer Bianca Padró Ocasio contributed to this report.