But, trust Ladra, it's a huge political loss and Robaina is shaking his big, cheeky babyface today.
Robaina, who enjoyed a 29-point lead four weeks ago, spent more than $1 million on his bid and had most of the GOP establishment -- including the robo-calling former Gov. Jeb Bush -- behind his campaign. And he ended up only a measly five points ahead of former county commissioner Carlos Gimenez, who came in second as many expected, in a race that he said he could win in the first round. His backers expected at least a 10-point lead.
It's a huge political career hit.
"If I were Julio Robaina right now, I'd have some real concerns," said Coral Gables Commissioner Bill Kerdyk, Jr., at Sabor de España on SW 8th Street where Gimenez had his victory party and supporters split their attention between the flatscreen with elections results and the other one with the Miami Heat playing the Chicago Bulls. (When the shouts came, it was not because of a percentage point here or there).
Didn't start off that way. Robaina had 41 percent of the absentee and early voting votes, compared to about 28 percent for Gimenez. (Something Ladra needs to spend time on is the AB ballot "machine" that is said to manipulate thousands of votes in Hialeah.) But he didn't keep that momentum at the polls. And Gimenez -- whose numbers four weeks ago were in the single digits -- was able to sustain his support at the polls. While Robaina's numbers slipped from 41 percent to 38 to 35 to 34 andf 33 as the precincts reported, Gimenez stayed level at 28.
So, while there is work to do (Alex Diaz de la Portilla is more hyper than Ladra and joked about calling people at 5 and 6 a.m. today, just as he had Tuesday morning) and the Gimenez camp admits it has problems in precincts where Robaina's base constiuency will be hard to swing, Ladra thinks the scant five point lead and Roba-y-na's drop shows a lot. We don't think that manipulation of the AB ballots are going to make as much of an impact in the runoff (not if we can help it). And there is tons of time between now and then for Ladra to shine more light on Robaina's ventures (read: conflicts of interest) and for the multiple federal investigations to conclude or, if not, spring further leaks so that the public can know what the candidate has been doing.
Yep, this was a big loss for Julito. Ladra can see him now, cheeks flapping in the wind as he shakes his head in disbelief. "Where did I go wrong?" he might ask himself.
Ladra might answer: You didn't wait a little and run for the District 13 commission seat. Instead, you ran for mayor while under federal investigation for tax evasion and/or loan-sharking and/or mortgage fraud and/or money laundering and attacked a candidate who has not had any conflicts of interest or allegations of impropriety and who has always voted for the best interest of the public.
Let's see how that works for ya on June 28th.