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Thursday, April 5, 2018

A special election has come true in Miami

Por Damian

With a special election called for May 22 the fight to replace Bruno Barreiro as commissioner of the Miami-Dade county could take less than 60 days while two familiar names in local politics compete for the open seat. In this case, we are talking about Zoraida Barreiro and Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

Zoraida Barreiro, wife of the former commissioner, and Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a former state senator and member of a well-known political family, said this week that they are interested in running for the position of District 5, in which Bruno Barreiro was for 20 years before resigning on Saturday to devote full time to the replacement of Miami Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

"I'm interested in running. I was born and raised in that district", said Diaz de la Portilla, a former leader of the Republican majority in Tallahassee, after attending the meeting of the commission that authorized the special elections. "I could start from the first day". Zoraida Barreiro also attended the meeting. "I plan to run for the position," she said a few hours after the event.

Bruno Barreiro didn’t need to leave his post so quickly, and his abrupt departure required that the remaining 12 commissioners temporarily appoint someone until the elections scheduled on August 28 or spend up to $ 1 million in a special election. With a No, the commissioners voted for the second option and accepted the request of the Elections Department to maintain the process on an accelerated schedule to avoid the logistic overlap with the August primaries.

"Democracy is never cheap," said Commissioner Javier Souto after proposing the necessary legislation in order to hold the special elections. Miami-Dade can spend only $ 500,000 on the District 5 race if a candidate takes more than 50 percent of the vote on May 22 and avoids a second round. The cost of $ 1 million is relatively small in the context of the Miami-Dade budget of $ 7,400 million. The County also plans to spend $ 1 million this year to subsidize Miami-Dade's preparations for the 2020 Super Bowl, and its total election expense plan for 2018 is $ 22 million.

But the potential cost of $ 1 million generated criticism from those opposed to a quick special election, arguing that the rush to occupy the seat was unnecessarily expensive given that a county election is already in the budget. "When we make these decisions, we must consider our taxpayers' money", said Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, who was appointed to her seat in late 2005 until she can face a regular election all over the county next summer. "If we call a special election, we would have to pay for that election and then return in August and pay for another election", she added.