Miami-Dade mayors race heats up with 4 strong candidates

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The race for Miami-Dade County mayor may be flying beneath the radar with everything else going on, but the candidates are hard at work — vying for your vote.

Four strong candidates will be colliding at the polls Aug. 18, aiming for the seat Carlos Gimenez must vacate after nine years because of term limits.

For Alex Penelas, it’s deja vu all over again. The former mayor is back — and with $4 million in his war chest, he’s in the lead.

“I’m excited. I’m excited about moving forward on this journey,” he says in a campaign ad.

Daniella Levine Cava, a county commissioner, would be the first woman ever elected mayor of Miami-Dade.

“I’m not saying it takes a woman to do the job,” she says. “I’m just saying the men haven’t done it.”

She’s a progressive. She recently tried to get the county commission to approve paid sick leave and rent subsidies.

Commissioner Steve Bovo, another mayoral candidate, shut her down.

“There’s only going to be one candidate that’s going to talk about conservative values, about minding our budgets, making sure we don’t raise taxes, we don’t misspend money,” he says. “And that’s me.”

Commissioner Xavier Suarez is also famous for penny-pinching. He gets points, too, for being the father of Francis Suarez, the popular City of Miami mayor.

“Integrity, independence and transparency — I mean, what you see is what you get with me,” Suarez said.

If no candidate wins a majority of the vote in the August primary, the two top finishers will face-off in the November election.

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