We're gonna go ahead and take credit for James Cason's victory in Coral Gables yesterday. Voters in the City Beautiful made the former state department official their mayor. He beat incumbent Don Slesnick and local attorney Thomas Korge. Despite a last-minute flyer declaring him a carpetbagger with a felon for a campaign manager, Cason convinced Coral Gables residents that his career as a U.S. diplomat gave him the credentials to tackle the city's biggest problems, including a $197 million shortfall in the employee pension fund.
New Times chronicled Cason's life in a 4,533-word feature story this past January 20, including his role undermining Fidel Castro when he was chief of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana.
Cason won despite raising less money than Slesnick and Korge, who collected more than $200,000 combined. The victory is extra-sweet for his campaign manager, Jorge de Cardenas, whose felony conviction resulting from a Miami scandal in the 1990s was highlighted in a negative flyer about Cason circulated a week before the election. De Cardenas helped Cason amp up his anti-Castro credentials among Coral Gables' Cuban-American voters.
In the two commission races, William "Bill" H. Kerdyk Jr. obliterated Richard Namon Sr., while Frank Quesada easily beat five other candidates.