The absentee and early voting ballot count for Hialeah is trickling in and it may look like su alcaldito Carlos Hernandez and his incumbent-minus-one-plus-one slate is winning the mayoral race. But looks can be deceiving sometimes.
Hernandez and Co. were expected to take the ABs (all but Tony "Phony" Vega, who is losing even there). They are, after all, paying Absentee Ballot Queen Sasha Tirador thousands of dollars for those votes, principally from public housing units and assisted living facilities. They have to get those. And Ladra hopes the authorities are watching how closely they all came to each other, showing either intense and rather extraordinary Olympic-worthy coordination, or fraud.
But they had to get them with a bigger lead.
At 7:35 p.m., it showed that su alcaldito's lead was only 8 points, with 40 percent of those votes compared to 32 percent for former Mayor Raul Martinez and 27 percent for former State Sen. Rudy "The Ghost" Garcia, who may have started showing up and pulling up too late to make a difference.
In the race between Council President and Chusma in Residence Isis "Gavelgirl" Garcia-Martinez and former Councilwoman Cindy Miel, the AB divide is wider, but not as wide as was expected, with 55 percent for Gavelgirl and 45 percent for the honey.
Councilman Jose "Pottymouth" Caragol's lead over former Mayor Julio Martinez was even more substantial, with a 56 percent to 31 percent showing. Ramiro Sicre only got 13 percent, but he promised Ladra he would run again.
Councilman Pablito "Huh?" Hernandez has a much smaller lead with 39 percent over Frank Lago's 34 percent (something Ladra is sure Lago will overcome on Election Day). Daring Daisy Castellanos, who also promised Ladra she will run again (maybe against Councilwoman Kathy Cue) got a respectable 27 percent.
Even the relatively unknown and incredibly unexperienced Lourdes Lozano, a former Hialeah Housing commissioner, got 45 percent in the seat vacated by Councilman Jose "Pepe" Yedra, while front-running favorite Alex "The Professor" Morales got only 35 percent. That might be because candidates Fernando Alvarez (buoyed by Garcia votes) and Jesus Novo redirected some toward them, with 13 and 6 percent respectively.
And while she may be officially off su alcaldito's slate, Councilwoman Vivian "I'll Notarize That" Casals-Muñoz took the ABs with a wide margin at 48 percent, compared to 27 percent for former cop and HHA employee Danny Bolaños and 25 percent for gunshop owner and permit shirker Tony "Phony" Vega. Maybe Vega and su alcaldito should have made their alliance public sooner.
While this should be no surprise, volunteers and supporters are already freaking out at the Martinez headquarters. But the night is young, people. It's going to be a long one. And if those are the biggest leads su alcaldito and his AB machine can muster, then it's not in the bag. Not at all.