Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez handily overcame a challenge from Commission Chairman Joe Martinez. Clearly, voters approve of Mr. Gimenez’s belt-tightening moves at County Hall during his first year in office after the recall of Carlos Alvarez.
Veteran prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle also overcame a strong challenge, from a candidate backed by her nemesis, the police union, to keep her post as state attorney for Miami-Dade County, winning with 60 percent support. She sealed the win despite having to face write-in candidates in November, a waste of time for voters but such is the nature of the write-in game. (Listen up, Tallahassee: When are legislators going to give voters the chance to open up primaries when only write-in candidates stand in the way?)
There are lessons on leadership from the primary election just concluded. The cloud of absentee ballot fraud hangs over some victories. Even though the current cases are still under investigation with more arrests expected — and Ms. Fernandez Rundle asked to be recused because of a potential conflict of interest as one of her consultant’s campaign workers may have been in the company of an accused ballot fraudster — this issue is far from done.
Fortunately, Ms. Fernandez Rundle plans to empanel a grand jury to investigate ballot fraud. Mr. Gimenez should also look at toughening local ordinances to stop so-called boleteros who target elderly absentee voters to “help” them fill out ballots . The mayor has long been an ethical leader where his actions speak volumes about transparency in government. He should start leading on this issue as soon as commissioners return after Labor Day.
Several Miami-Dade Commission races are now headed to a run-off though two longtime incumbents, Dennis Moss and Barbara Jordan, secured their seats despite auto magnate and civic reformer Norman Braman putting his money behind their challengers. Attacks on Mr. Braman by union-backed PACs that sought to paint him as a puppeteer were predictable if unfair. If anything, his financial support in those challengers’ campaigns was tame compared to his recall efforts last year.
The biggest change at the county level came with the victory of Carlos Lopez-Cantera against incumbent Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia. Mr. Lopez-Cantera promises to make that office more consumer friendly and fair to property owners. That’s a promise he needs to fulfill — maintaining a professional office and not filling positions with political cronies.
Another surprise for many Miami Beach and Little Havana voters was the election of David Richardson for House District 113. Mr. Richardson, a wealthy accountant, will be the first openly gay member of the state Legislature.
At the federal level, Frederica Wilson returns to Congress after defeating a candidate who ran a divisive campaign within the black community. Haiti’s President Michele Martelly urged Haitian-Americans to vote for Ms. Wilson’s opponent. The congresswoman called it an attempt to divide the black community into ethnic camps. Voters agreed.
Political pro Joe Garcia won the Democratic race to run against U.S. Rep. David Rivera in November. Mr. Rivera is vulnerable on the issue of transparency in finances, but the feisty campaigner shouldn’t be counted out. Given that Mr. Garcia and Mr. Rivera have faced off before in a bitter race, this one promises to get nasty. Voters deserve a real discussion on issues, not more mudslinging.