Miami-Dade politics is a complicated beast, and the recall of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has set off a lot of dominoes. Commissioner Carlos Gimenez's decision to resign from his county commission seat to run for mayor means it's now up for grabs. And guess who's running? Former City of Miami mayor Xavier Suarez and Julio Robaina. No, not the Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina who is also running for Miami-Dade mayor, but the Republican state representative from Hialeah of the same name.
The election to fill Gimenez's seat is set for May 24, the same day county voters will pick a new mayor and a person to fill also recalled commissioner Natacha Seijas' seat.
Suarez and Robaina were the only two who filed.
Suarez is the former mayor of the City of Miami. Amongst other things he's most famous for showing up at a citizen's home in the early hours of the morning in just his pajamas to confront the guy about a critical letter he wrote that was published in The Miami Herald. Suarez served two amiable terms in the '80s before running again in 1998. A court found his supposed victory was the result of absentee ballot fraud, and he was ousted from office amidst drama and chaos.
Though, his son now serves on the City of Miami commission for little other reason than he happens to be the former mayor's son.
Robaina has a less colorful past. He served on the commission down in South Miami, and became the town's mayor before serving in the state House as a Republican for 8 years. He lost his recent bid to win entrance into the state Senate. He's known for being a bit of a maverick, and didn't always tow the Republican party line.
Though, Robaina's run for Ccmmission at the same time as the other Robaina's run for mayor means county hall could have both a Mayor Julio Robaina and a Commissioner Julio Robaina. No, they aren't related.
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We apologize to anyone who has little knowledge of politics in this area. Yes, there are dozens of various mayors and commissions (many of them ruling over places with "Miami" in the name), and yes there are at least two Julio Robainas.
We also would like to apologize to anyone who thought the recall election was about getting new blood and a change of vision into local politics. Looks like we're set with the same old people, just in different offices.