Municipal politics in Miami-Dade are officially non-partisan, but most local pol's private party affiliations are well known and it's becoming more and more common for the local Democratic and Republican parties to get involved. Just this summer, the Miami-Dade Dems helped Daniella Levine Cava beat Republican Lynda Bell in a county commission race and signaled they may back an opponent in 2016 against Republican Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Well, now Gimenez has started talking about the idea of leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent.
"These labels tend to drive us apart here," Gimenez said in an interview with 610 WIOD's Jimmy Cefalo this morning. "We don't need that here."
"I want to make sure that people understand when they vote for me, and when they vote for me again, they're voting for Carlos Gimenez and what he stands for. And not some party," he added.
In his original run for mayor against former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, also a Republican, Gimenez tended to run to the left on many social issues and got the endorsement of gay-rights group SAVE. This helped him capture the majority of the Democrat vote and claim victory.
So a possible move to an independent makes sense, though, it also means Gimenez is probably not thinking of a career in politics past his time as county mayor.
Switching to no party affiliation isn't unheard of. Former City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz changed his party affiliation from Democrat to independent before running for office.
Private partisan affiliation also doesn't always translate to public partisanship either. Two of Gov. Rick Scott's biggest champions in Miami-Dade are City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, who are both registered as Democrats.