Elector Set

No doubt about it, Raul Martinez is Hialeah's mayor-for-life. The question is: Can Herman Echevarria's Penelas-driven political machine succeed in killing him?

To vast segments of the city, however, Martinez remains the symbolic father of Hialeah -- especially to the thousands of newer arrivals who know only his leadership. It's that familial stature, argues pollster Sergio Bendixen, that will make it hard to reject him at the polls. "I've seen this, maybe not so much in local American politics but in Latin America," says Bendixen. "A guy founds a political party, gets elected, has a big following, and the young people grow up and want to get involved. They wait and wait, until finally they run against the father. Usually the father wins. People see it as disloyal to go against the guy who gave you everything. With Hispanics, culturally that's very important, not to disrespect the established leader.

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