So far, Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick's biggest fear and worst enemy in his bid for re-election today has reared it's ugly head and no, it does not go by the name of Tom Korge or Jim Cason.
Evil, thy name is "low turnout."
Abismal, perhaps, is a better word. Because at this rate, the three victors will have been elected via absentee ballots.
As of 1 p.m., the city clerk's office had reported 2,546 votes cast in the City Beautiful. That would be just over 8.5% of the 29,679 registered voters. By contrast, the Miami-Dade Elections department reported getting 4,683 absentee votes as of Monday, which is almost 16 percent.
Ladra doesn't know yet, but we are willing to bet dinner at Seasons 52 (who knows who might drop in!) that this is a record number of absentee ballots for the little city by the sea. We've asked but the elections department is a tad busy today so we might have to wait until tomorrow to be right.
So, in other words, the campaign who did the most ab work, as campaign pros call it, will be smiling confident right now. Those who didn't, are going to wish they had.
"That's the highest [number] I've ever seen," said Commissioner Ralph Cabrera, who endorsed Gonzalo Sanabria in the race to replace the retiring veteran Chip Withers.
"This election is going to be decided by absentee ballot," Cabrera said.
So, who did a lot of absentees? Jeannett Slesnick said her husband's campaign probably can claim about 300 or so. But she believes a lot of supporters had asked on their own. "We have a lot of people 60 and older who are supporting Don."
Word on the street is that two candidates in the six-man race to replace Withers, Brad Rosenblatt and Frank Quesada, can count on 500 and 400 absentee votes, respectively. Quesada was also reportedly on Cuban radio Tuesday morning urging people to go out and vote. Several people reported to Ladra that van loads of elderly Hispanic voters were spotted at both the library and Venetian Pool, two of the busiest precincts. One campaign poll worker said one viejita getting out of the van were overheard asking which was the Cuban candidate.
"She said '¿Cual es el cubano?' Because they weren't even sure,'" the woman said.
A Cuban police officer out of uniform -- the Gables FOP supports both Slesnick and Sanabria -- asked her "Pero what does that have to do with Coral Gables?"
Today, it apparently has everything to do with the election.