Doral’s founding mayor, Juan Carlos “JC” Bermudez, term-limited out of running for re-election after serving from 2003 to 2012, wants his old job back.
Bermudez, 54, announced Tuesday that he’s ready to battle incumbent Mayor Luigi Boria, who is running for a second term on the November ballot. The city’s term-limit rules allow former mayors to run for the same position after sitting out at least one term.
“Over the last three and a half years, I, along with many of you, have been very disappointed in what has happened to our beautiful city,” Bermudez said in an email announcing his candidacy early Tuesday, like “the lack of transparency, the decrease in the quality of life, and high density projects that are not consistent with the existing master plan.”
His slogan? — “Bring Doral Back.”
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“We will face a daunting task but with your help we can return to having a city where the residents and its government work hand in hand to make our community the best possible place to live, work, play and learn. Let’s get back to having an open and transparent government, responsible and controlled growth and a focus on creating a great quality of life.”
Boria, 57, told the Miami Herald that Bermudez’s announcement doesn’t scare him.
“This is a democracy and the choice belongs to the residents of Doral,” Boria said. “We have two choices, Doral can either represent the past, or the future — and I represent the future.”
“Just think about this: His slogan is ‘Bringing Doral back,’ and my slogan is ‘Moving Doral Forward.’ ”
Boria, elected mayor in 2012 after two years as a Doral councilman, said he thinks residents are happy with his leadership.
Bermudez was Doral’s first mayor, elected when the city was incorporated in 2003, becoming the 33rd city in Miami-Dade County. It was a major warehouse district with easy access to the Miami airport and became a hub for Venezuelan immigrants fleeing the Chavez regime. Its population then was 22,000. Today it has grown to 54,000.
Doral council members and mayors can serve up to two consecutive four-year terms. Bermudez served longer because his first term was 5 1/2 years. In 2008, four-year terms began.
Boria has received more than $142,000 in campaign contributions. Bermudez could not raise campaign money until he opened a campaign account and filed a statement of candidacy with the city, which he did late Monday.
Other candidates who have filed to run in the elections are Claudia Mariaca and Carlos Pereira, who are running for City Council seat No. 1. Mariaca has raised $8,725 and Pereira has raised $525. Seat #1 incumbent Sandra Ruiz has not said whether she will seek re-election.
Christi Fraga, incumbent council member in seat #3, is running for re-election and is being challenged by David Hernandez. Fraga has raised $35,550 to Hernandez’s $7,262.
Doral’s qualifying period will run from July 5 to July 19.