Sunday, May 8, 2011

Published story in Biscayne Times

With 11 people in the race to replace recalled Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, the May 24 election is almost certain to be inconclusive. It’s highly unlikely any candidate will gather more than 50 percent of the votes, which is needed to win outright. A runoff election is scheduled for June 28.

In that race, it is highly likely that one of the two finalists will be Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina.

The Hialeah real estate mogul -- who disclosed his net worth at more than $8 million -- has led in the polls since November, even after damaging headlines about his ties to a convicted Ponzi schemer and IRS investigations into his activities as a freelance banker who makes big loans to good friends.

Robaina also leads the money race, and will probably end up with more than a million dollars between his campaign coffers and a political action committee chaired by the executive director of the Hialeah Housing Authority, a close friend who serves at the discretion of the mayor.

And until the day before the election, Robaina will continue to be the mayor of Hialeah, the second-largest city in the county and on May 24, the center of its political universe. Hialeah’s voters are expected to play a pivotal role in the election, in large part because they’ll be turning out in droves.

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