Miami-Dade Democratic Party makes key endorsements in County Commission, School Board contests
Image via AP.

Robert Asencio
The organization endorsed three Commission candidates and four School Board candidates Wednesday.

The Miami-Dade Democratic Party is issuing endorsements in a series of local races, backing four School Board candidates, three County Commission candidates and a candidate for Miami-Dade Property Appraiser.

The organization is endorsing Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins in her District 5 reelection bid. The group is also backing Cindy Lerner in the District 7 contest as well as Robert Asencio in District 11.

Higgins won the seat in a surprise victory during a June 2018 special election. She’s defending the seat this year against Renier Diaz de la Portilla and Miguel C. Soliman.

“Commissioner Eileen Higgins has done a fantastic job representing District 5 on the Board of County Commissioners,” said Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Steve Simeonidis.

“District 5 has stark inequality, which is why she has fought for more than 3600 units of affordable housing, the expansion of bus rapid transit, and helped create the $25 million Miami RISE Small Business Revolving Loan Fund.”

Asencio is seeking to oust incumbent Commissioner Joe Martinez, who has been in hot water recently. Cristhian Mancera is also competing for the seat, though Mancera trails both Martinez and Asencio in fundraising.

Asencio formerly served in the Florida House but narrowly lost his House District 118 seat in 2018.

“Rep. Asencio is exactly the type of bold leader we need serving on the Board of County Commissioners,” Simeonidis said.

“Western Dade deserves someone working for them in County government who will confront the threat of coronavirus head-on and push for better testing, better contact tracing and better guidelines so businesses aren’t operating in an atmosphere of uncertainty. That’s exactly the type of leadership we can expect from Robert Asencio.”

Lerner, the former Mayor of Pinecrest, is seeking to succeed Commissioner Xavier Suarez. Suarez is running to be the county’s next Mayor. Lerner is competing against former school board member Raquel Regalado, Pets’ Trust co-founder Michael Rosenberg and Miami Gardens police officer Ralph Suarez.

“Mayor Lerner has a track record of creating change and advocating for the most vulnerable in our society,” Simeonidis added.

“She is exactly the type of leader we need representing District 7 on the County Commission: someone who is unafraid to push for a living wage, to create economic opportunity and affordable housing. And when it comes to advocating for our planet and protecting our vulnerable coastline and outdated water system, Mayor Lerner is unparalleled in her ideas, her energy and her advocacy.”

As for the School Board, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party is endorsing Lucia Baez in District 3, Mara Zapata in District 5, Marie Flore Lindor-Latortue is District 7 and Nancy Lawther in District 9.

The organization is also backing Marisol Zenteno as she competes against Pedro Garcia to be the next County Property Appraiser.

All these races are technically nonpartisan, though the Miami-Dade Democratic Party is obviously trending toward more left-leaning candidates in each of the respective contests.

The announcement comes the same day the local party called on Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to withdraw from her bid seeking reelection.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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