Election season has officially begun in Hialeah, with the mayor and three council members facing challengers.
The qualifying period ended Monday at 5 p.m., with eight candidates filing paperwork by the deadline.
The mayor’s race features current Mayor Carlos Hernandez, former interim mayor Julio Martinez and political newcomer Juan Santana.
Hernandez, 52, served as a police officer with the Hialeah Police Department for 22 years. He was a City Council member from 2005 to 2011, when the council appointed him mayor to succeed Julio Robaina, who resigned to run for county mayor.
Martinez, 70, served as interim mayor in the early 1990s, after then-mayor Raul Martinez was indicted on allegations he extorted about $1 million from developers in exchange for zoning favors. After a series of legal battles, Raul Martinez ultimately returned to the dais without a conviction.
Julio Martinez works as a bailiff . Previously, he owned a company that promoted boxing matches.
Santana, 30, is the owner of a company called B.P. Racing of Miami.
Two people are running for council in Group 5.
Incumbent Luis González, 43, has served on the City Council since 2005 and is currently the vice president.
The challenger, Julio Rodriguez, 24, works as a peer adviser at Florida International University, where he is a student.
There are two candidates in Group 6.
Incumbent Paul “Pablito” Hernández, 25, was appointed by Robaina as a commissioner to the Hialeah Housing Authority. After a year there, he was appointed by Mayor Hernandez to fill a vacancy on the council, according to the City of Hialeah website.
Marcos Miralles, 19, works at a local Publix, 3251 E. Second Ave. Miralles has a campaign Facebook page that, as of Thursday, had 85 likes.
Ricky García, a retired Hialeah police detective, was planning on going to City Hall last Monday to register his candidacy for the a Group 6 council seat. But García died from a heart attack on Monday before he had the chance.
Group 7 is the only undisputed group.
Incumbent Katharine “Katy” Cue-Fuente, 25, was automatically reelected for want of opposition. She was appointed to the council in 2008 and elected in 2009.
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