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Alex Penelas nets wave of endorsements in Miami-Dade Mayoral race

A trove of current and former elected leaders hope to send Penelas back to the Mayor’s office.

Former Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas received a slew of endorsements from Mayors, Commissioners and former senators Thursday in his bid to reclaim his old office.

Former Sens. Roberto Casas and Rudy Garcia are among new endorsers, as were Miami Springs Council member Bob Best and Sunny Isles Beach commissioner Alex Lama.

Penelas, one of seven candidates for the Miami-Dade County Mayor, already earned endorsements from numerous local leaders including County Commissioner Barbara Jordan and former U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.

“I’m proud to have the support of this diverse set of local leaders and am humbled by their trust in my experience to lead Miami-Dade County,” Penelas said. “Miami-Dade’s 34 cities and unincorporated areas need an experienced Mayor who understands the challenges they each face with mobility, housing affordability, social equity and making our entire county more resilient. Together with these and the over 100 individuals and organizations who have endorsed me, we will face these issues and build a better Miami-Dade.”

Four members of the Miami-Dade Community Council — Christian Cevallos, Marco Giron, Gerardo Rodriguez and Charlie Safdie — also endorsed Penelas, as did former Sunny Isles Beach City Commissioner Danny Iglesias.

Don Slesnick, who served as the Mayor of Coral Gables from 2001 to 2011, said he worked with Penelas in the past and is confident in his leadership for the future. 

“Alex Penelas governed with bold leadership during his time in public office,” Slesnick said. “Whether he was fighting homelessness, reducing crime, pushing for universal Pre-K or the approval of funding for transit, Alex has been a forward-thinking leader that meets challenges head on. Our next County Mayor will face serious issues like traffic congestion, affordability and the consequences of climate change. I am confident that Alex has the experience and vision to deal with these and other community issues effectively, so we are proud to announce our support for Alex Penelas for Mayor of Miami-Dade County.”

Penelas, who served as Miami-Dade County Mayor from 1996 to 2004, leads the field in fundraising. The primary election is Aug. 18. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two candidates will advance to the Nov. 3 general election.

Phillipe DeRose, former Village of El Portal Mayor, also endorsed Penelas.

“I have known Alex Penelas for many years and during that time, one thing has remained consistent – he has always been a man of courage, conviction, and principle,” DeRose said. “Even when faced with political strife, sometimes by his own party, Alex held steadfast to his beliefs and his commitment to the community he was elected to represent. Today, amid a growing pandemic, a suffering economy and a national cry for racial justice, this is the type of boldness and unwavering leadership we are in desperate need of and I am looking forward to bringing his vision to Miami-Dade County once again.”

Cevallos, who represents Kendall, said it was crucial to have appropriate leadership to reverse recent leadership.

“Kendall is a growing and thriving family-friendly community in Miami-Dade County that has been grossly neglected by its current leadership over the past 15 years, particularly when it comes to mobility and transportation,” he said. “As we face an uncertain future in the aftermath of COVID, we need a leader with a bold approach who will secure our economy as well as solve the connectivity issue in our region. We need real solutions that will improve quality of life for the residents of West Dade and the only candidate in this race with the vision, experience and leadership to get us through these difficult times is Alex Penelas.”

Written By

Spencer Fordin grew up in Port Washington, N.Y. and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. Before working for, he spent 16 seasons with and nearly three years as a general assignment reporter in the Cayman Islands. You can reach Spencer at



  1. DisplacedCTYankee

    July 30, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Jesus H. Christ, nowhere does this story mention which political party is involved. Only half-way down the story is it even mentioned that it’s a PRIMARY election.

  2. Liz V

    August 2, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    With Miami-Dade County having a strong mayor now, it makes sense to go with someone with experience.

    Daniella has really divided the community with party politics and transit politics. She has her sights on higher office, and she is looking to serve herself first, as seen by her carpet bagging into South Dade.

    Daniella has a history of overworking her employees and not paying them a fair wage. Everyone in the nonprofit circles know that she has built her career on the backs of indentured servants known as interns and volunteers. She is never very grateful for their help either. She is someone who will let everyone else do all of the work so she can swoop in for a photo op and to take credit.

    Alex might not be everyone’s favorite, but at least, he has some experience. He is much better qualified for the job.

    If people vote Daniella just so she can be the first woman mayor, it will be an injustice to so many of us.

    We need to do better. We need to put someone into this seat who is able to manage effectively.

    Also there should be a financial analysis to show how much funding Catalyst Miami received the 10 years prior to her election, and how many tax dollars they have received since her election.

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