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Joe Martinez holds onto District 11 seat on Miami-Dade County Commission

Martinez netted a majority of the vote, avoiding a runoff.

Incumbent Joe Martinez held off a pair of challengers Tuesday night, winning another term representing District 11 on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Former Rep. Robert Asencio and Cristhian Mancera also competed for the seat.

According to Tuesday’s unofficial results, Martinez netted 55% of the vote. That’s enough to secure him a majority and avoid a runoff in November.

Asencio is second with 29% support, followed by Mancera at 16%.

Martinez led his competitors by a wide margin in fundraising. The incumbent was first elected to the County Commission in 2000 and served three terms before running an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014. Carlos Curbelo ultimately won that seat.

Martinez came back to run for his old seat in 2016 and won with 69% of the vote.

During his prior tenure, he was elected by his peers on the commission to be chairman of the board in 2005 and 2011.

Martinez came under fire earlier this year for a perceived breach of ethics. At issue is a mass transit project connecting Miami and Miami Beach. Last year, Miami-Dade received an unsolicited bid from a company called Genting to build a monorail line connecting those two cities. Martinez openly admitted he had called a potential rival bidder.

Asencio, a former Representative for Florida’s 118th House District, was endorsed by a number of labor unions.

He served one term in HD 118 before he was defeated by Rep. Anthony Rodriguez in 2018. Earlier this summer, Asencio prodded the Miami-Dade County Commission to be more proactive in its response to COVID-19.

Both Asencio and Martinez have backgrounds in law enforcement. Asencio is the former Miami-Dade Schools Police Department captain, and Martinez served 17 years in the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Asencio also is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves who vowed to fight for legislation fostering workforce development, job training, job creation and higher wages.

Martinez, the 1992 Officer of the Year, ultimately ranked as a lieutenant before he left law enforcement.

Mancera advocated for affordable housing, mass transit, growth and technology. Mancera graduated from the Fundacion Universitaria Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Colombia and sought to make the district a tech hub.

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