Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Election Day in Miami – Runoff

Today is the run-off election in Miami-Dade County between Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez.

Tuesday night’s results will end a period of political upheaval triggered by the March recall of Carlos Alvarez as county mayor and the subsequent campaign to pick a replacement. But the winner of the race will be quickly thrust into a tumultuous, politically charged environment. That includes plugging a yawning budget deficit, renegotiating 10 labor contracts with employee unions and making good on a host of promised reforms, including the adoption of eight-year term limits for county commissioners.

And it all must be done quickly and under the stage lights of a restive public and political challengers themselves angling to be county mayor in 2012. The winner Tuesday serves the remainder of what would have been Alvarez’s term. The first-round of next year’s race will be in August 2012 — with a final election, if no candidate gets more than 50 percent in August, in November. Indeed, there will be no time to waste for the Tuesday’s winner: Election results are to be certified Friday and the new mayor must submit a new, multi-billion dollar budget for the coming year by July 15, just two weeks after being declared the winner.

The electorate has shown tepid excitement about the two candidates trying to succeed Alvarez, even as a recent poll showed the public has few regrets about tossing Alvarez out after he incurred public ire for a host of missteps amid the recession, including raising the property tax rate while hiking county workers’ salaries.

If you live in the county but aren’t sure where to vote, check here for the voter’s guide.

If you’re not sure who to vote for, well, I can’t help you. Based on the robocalls I’ve been getting, both of the candidates are Evil Incarnate, according to the other guy’s campaign. So far neither of them have given me a good reason to vote for their candidate. It’s tough to prove a negative.