The handful of City of Miami voters who bothered to roll by the polls yesterday sent an age-old but always cringe-inducing message: Cash and name recognition wins elections.
Actual plans for the city? Meh. Not so important.
In the four contested races in the city, voters went nuts over well-funded Tomas Regalado for mayor (71.67 percent) and incumbent Michelle Spence Jones in District 5 (82.75 percent), and gave a nod in District 3 to Frank Carollo (52.29 percent). They sent District 4's Francis Suarez and Manolo Reyes to a runoff.
So what do these guys have in common? What grand, overarching vision for the City of Miami's future can we divine from these results?
First, take the mayor's race. Tomas Regalado's message to voters basically boiled down to one word: NO. Regalado didn't really run on his merits as much as he ran as far away as possible from outgoing mayor Manny Diaz. Regalado was the change candidate and his opponent, Joe Sanchez, could never escape his typecast as Diaz's Mini-Me.
It didn't hurt his chances that Regalado raised almost a third more cash than Sanchez, and dominated the older, Cuban-American demographic (who were likely none too upset about his past support for terrorist Eduardo Arocena).
But the other races make it clear that voters overall were less about change than about familiar names and plenty of advertising.