Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gimenez Wins

Carlos Gimenez won the election to be Miami-Dade County mayor.

Carlos Gimenez, a former Miami city manager and county commissioner who touted himself as the candidate with the experience to solve the most nettlesome problems, will be Miami-Dade County’s next mayor after defeating former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina by a slim margin.

With all precincts reporting, Gimenez won 51 percent to Robaina’s 49 percent.

The difference for Gimenez proved to be early votes, where he fared better than Robaina. The two essentially fought to a draw for absentee and Election Day votes.

“I am happy,” said Gimenez, after learning he won. “But I also know that come tomorrow I have a lot of work to do.”

For his part, Robaina surprised many by conceding the race even as the contest remained close and all the votes were not counted.

Right before 9:30 p.m., Robaina took the stage in the lobby of a Doral office park, as Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing played in the background. But Robaina told the still-hopeful crowd that the election was over.

“I just called Commissioner Gimenez and congratulated him on his win,” Robaina said, to loud cries of “No!”

The vote ends a two-and-a-half-month campaign to pick a replacement for former county mayor Carlos Alvarez, who was ousted in March in the largest recall of a local politician in U.S. history.

Good luck, Mr. Mayor.