by Javier Manjarres
Congratulations to former Miami-Dade County Commissioner and now Miami-Dade Mayor-elect Carlos Gimenez for defeating Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina in the Miami-Dade Mayoral special election. Gimenez squeaked out the victory by a very narrow margin of roughly 2%- about 4,000 votes. What most voters and onlookers of this race do not know is that Gimenez was dead set on leaving the Mayoral race in early April of this year.
In late March, Gimenez hedged on running, as he was unsure if he could seriously compete and win against the popular Hialeah mayor- Gimenez actually had decided that he was going to drop out of the race. But friends, family, and closer staffers reassured him and strongly encouraged him to run. Gimenez told his close supporters that he appreciated their support and would make his decision on the last possible day(Qualifying day-April 12) if he were to leave the race or not. Gimenez, like many others, doubted his chances to win, and thought it was probably more likely that he would be able to keep Robaina honest if he stayed on as a Commissioner.
For the first two weeks or so of April, the Gimenez camp solely relied on polling data to determine whether or not to stay in the race. As favorable internal polls showed significant movement by Gimenez, confidence built in into the campaign and Gimenez finish the race with a very respectable 2nd place finish. What was significant about the election results were Robaina’s low numbers- low considering the AB ballot and financial juggernaut his campaign was. Robaina had the endorsements of almost all of the GOP establishment and local elected officials.
The result is no doubt a surprise, and for those who believe that establishment support is the be all end all, I say take heed of the fact that any increasingly informed and savvy educated electorate will ultimately decide on their own who will represent them best- regardless of marketing, establishment support, and endorsements.
Special hat tip to Ladra at the Political Cortadito for covering the Mayor’s race .