By Valeria Bula
Miami Dade County’s (MDC’s) primary elections are tomorrow and amongst the various selections on the ballot, MDC citizens will select their new mayor. Among the candidates is current incumbent Carlos Gimenez, school board member Raquel Regalado, and Alfred Santamaria.
Although Gimenez is taking a lead in the polls, Regalado is coming up close, with the objective of doing what Gimenez hasn’t. Regalado claims among biggest issues Miami is facing is public safety: “The primary purpose of government is to provide safety… if we’re not safe, everything else takes a backseat,” she said.
Regalado also firmly opposes the open carry of automatic weapons, in light of several gun violence incidents and massacres in recent years, “One of the first things I’m doing as mayor is more police officers, reinstating the specialty unit… start cracking down on the little crimes that we know are the foundation of these gangs.”
Similarly, Santamaria is opposed to Gimenez’s public safety policies: “We have 500 less police officers on the streets than four years ago, yet the population has grown. We need to secure our streets.”
Santamaria thinks the main issues Miami is facing and is corruption within the local government, lack of economic development, transportation, safety, and after school programs for the youth— all things he is seeking to resolve.
Currently, one of the biggest worries in south Florida is rising sea levels. While Gimenez’s response was to create another committee, Regalado proposes bringing back the resiliency department and having a resiliency officer to weigh in on things and give an opinion. Santamaria proposes hiring experts and seeking aid to solve the issues.
Each newcomer claims to have something that makes them standout from any other candidate. Regalado claims her experience as a school board member qualifies her even more for the job, describing herself as a very successful lobbyist. Santamaria claims what makes him stand out is his fundraising and spending.
He is the first candidate, beyond Gimenez and Regalado, to publicize a run, issue a press release, and promote a launch event. His campaign and political committee has spent more than $220,000 so far, although significantly less than the $600,000 Regalado and $2 million Gimenez have spent, it is substantially higher than what has been spent by the other five non-electeds in the race.
In response to the Zika virus, Santamaria went to Wynwood and was the only candidate who offered a product thought to treat it.
Each candidate for the mayoral office comes in with new promises and new policies to tackle every current problem, most putting the blame of such issues on current Mayor Gimenez. Current polls, however, all place Gimenez at the lead, his main competitor proving to be Regalado
On August 30, the Miami-Dade County primary elections took place. Among the selections on the ballot were the candidates for Miami-Dade County mayor.
The race, primarily dominated by incumbent mayor Carlos Gimenez and two-term school board member Raquel Regalado, has resulted in a November run-off between the two given that neither of them were able to obtain over 50 percent of votes in the primaries.
The one-on-one run-off proved to be a surprising turn of events in the primaries, given that Regalado was not expected to advance much or serve as concerning competition to Gimenez.
Gimenez earned 48 percent of the votes in the primary, falling three percent short of the 50 percent plus one votes he needed to avoid a November runoff. Regalado trailed behind him, winning 32 percent of the votes. The remaining un-electeds, Frederick Bryant and Alfred Santamaria fell far behind, each falling shy of nine percent of the votes.
The other choices on the August ballot included the selection of US legislators. Republican candidate Marco Rubio won the election for US Senator and Democratic candidate Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The elections also allowed for the passing of the fourth amendment to Florida’s constitution. The fourth amendment prevents solar panels from being counted towards a home’s or business’ property value which will, in turn, increase the use of clean energy in Florida.