Losing in Polls, Raquel Regalado Sues Carlos Gimenez to Force Him Off Ballot

Nobody won last August's county mayoral primary vote. Yes, incumbent Carlos Gimenez got way more votes, but he failed to pull in 50 percent, which meant challenger Raquel Regalado forced a November runoff.

But with less than two weeks before Election Day, Regalado is taking a severe beating in the polls. Now it seems she's resorted to some straight-up strange tactics as the race draws to a close.

After battling Gimenez for more than a year, she's now suing to kick him out of the race. Regalado announced in a news release today that she filed suit to "disqualify Gimenez and void any votes for him in the November 8 election" in Miami-Dade County Court.

According to the release, Regalado claims Gimenez wrote a faulty qualifying check when he filed to run for reelection. She says that the bank rejected the $1,800 check and that Gimenez sent a new check June 20, 2016 — the day before the qualifying deadline.

But Regalado — a school board member and daughter of City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado — herself admits Gimenez filed his second check before the qualifying deadline, so it's unclear what, if anything, her opponent did wrong. The county elections department told the Miami Herald today that it believes Gimenez qualified fair and square.

Regalado did not immediately respond to a request for comment from New Times.

But in a statement, Gimenez called the lawsuit "bizarre."

"While we have not seen the actual lawsuit yet, the allegations in Ms. Regalado's press release are without merit and, frankly, bizarre," Gimenez's campaign wrote. "A valid qualifying check was presented to the elections department before the end of the qualifying period and was cleared by the bank for payment. Nothing else is required by law."

Though it appears Regalado's campaign officially jumped the shark today, this isn't the first time she has headed out into strange waters. Gimenez has repeatedly accused Regalado of "making stuff up" in order to insult him. The Miami Herald backed up that claim when its editorial board endorsed Gimenez this month.

"Her campaign has consisted of a relentless series of attacks accusing him of everything from responsibility for Zika to making up phony crime-fighting statistics — neither of which had merit," the paper wrote. "In one debate, she even accused him of having 'daddy issues' because of his frequent criticisms of her father, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado. Even in the bizarre world of Miami-Dade politics, that seems to be a new low in terms of personal animosity between candidates."

Though Gimenez didn't win the race outright last August, he still took 48 percent of the vote, compared to Regalado's 33 percent. Polls indicate she's on her way to a serious drubbing next month: A poll conducted this month for WLRN and Univision said Gimenez held a 22-point lead over his opponent.

The suit, then, appears to be a last-ditch effort to salvage a tanking campaign.