Raquel Regalado Hints at County Mayor Bid With New Poll Showing Her Close to Gimenez

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Raquel Regalado hasn't actually declared she's running for county mayor yet, but that hasn't stopped her from funding a new poll that shows her chances of winning the job are "very, very positive," the school board member tells New Times.

The internal poll, commissioned by billionaire Regalado backer Norman Braman in late January and carried out by Coconut Grove firm Bendixen & Amandi, showed Regalado trailing incumbent county mayor Carlos Gimenez 30 to 24 -- an encouraging margin, Regalado says, considering how far away the election is and Gimenez's status as a longtime incumbent.

See also: Raquel Regalado Took On the Establishment; Now She Wants to Run It

"The fact that we're so close is a big deal," she said.

The poll asked whom voters would support between Gimenez, herself, and County Commissioner Xavier Suarez, and then provided "some very favorable information about Gimenez and Suarez and very basic information about me"; when voters were asked again who they would vote for, Gimenez was pushed to 32 percent and Regalado to 30.

The Bendixen & Amandi poll of 600 people was limited to those likely to vote in the August 2016 primary.

"We take a big chunk out of the undecided voters," she says. "I did it that way because he's going to raise a lot more money."

The poll also included a question about the recent courthouse bond issue, whose defeat was a political coup for Regalado; one about public financing for the Dolphins and Heat, a political hot button for Gimenez; and another asking whether voters would elect a female mayor, the answer to which was an overwhelming yes, she says.

The results, Regalado says, showed "there is a desire for a change," although she added that she wouldn't decide to jump into the race solely based on the results.

"I don't think a poll is the decisive factor," she said of her consideration. "But I think in this case a poll was important given how much money he's going to be able to raise...you're talking about a big money race."

Regalado, who is the daughter of current City of Miami mayor Tomas Regalado, has declared she'll either run for the city or county mayoral positions.

Last week, in a move tinged with broader political overtones, she joined forces with Braman to file a lawsuit against the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County to block public funding for the controversial Skyrise development project.

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