Well, this just in. Former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez won the District 7 race, with 53 percent of the vote.
But only 214 people more voted for him on Election Day. As expected, Suarez led the absentee ballot race by a whopping 1,200 votes. Hmmmm...Former State Rep. Julio Robaina, who led by a nose in early voting and took 47 percent with less than a third of the campaign money, lost to Miguel Diaz de la Portilla substantially in absentee ballots. That campaign was led by Alex Diaz de la Portilla, who told Ladra that he was supporting Suarez, but not working for him. Same difference, no?
"That again did it to us, the ABs," Robaina said in a quick telephone interview a few minutes ago. "But he won. Maybe the other Julio Robaina (former Hialeah mayor running for the county mayor's seat) have worked against us with the Anglos. But he did a good campaign and his son helped him a lot.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm happy the voters have their result and know who their commissioner is," he said, in a decidedly upbeat tone. "I already texted Commissioner Suarez, wishing him lots of luck battling the budget ."
Now I know lots of people who might raise an eyebrow at a high number of absentee ballots collected by a former elected whose last seat was overturned after widespread ballot tampering and election fraud was found. Suarez was never charged criminally, as was Humbertico Hernandez, but I remember well that when I was hitting the streets in Hialeah and Westchester asking people there why they had voted in the city of Miami, many said it was to vote for Suarez.
Ladra had asked Suarez at a debate in Coconut Grove earlier this month who was doing his AB campaign. He did not answer, not even to say that he wouldn't give away strategy. He just ran away from me. As fast as he could. "We'll talk after the election," he said, repeatedly. I called already. The phone was busy, busy, busy, though eventually I left a message. Ladra will likely come way after other media outlets and the dozens of special interest investors, er, I mean supporters, who poured into his campaign, which was at $250,000 when he last reported and will probably near or top $300,000 when all is said and done. And some of that went into the AB campaign. Trust me. Could have been Diaz de la Portilla or just one of his favorite lieutenants. Or it could have been Hernandez, whose public adjustment firm did contribute to Xavier's campaign. Or it could have been any number of AB machine operators who are hereby put on notice: Ladra is on to you.
And being only a fairly intelligent watchdog, she surely isn't the only one.