Republican Esteban “Steve” Bovo Jr. received what is likely the most valuable backing possible for members of his party Thursday when former President Donald Trump issued a ringing endorsement for his bid to be the city of Hialeah’s next Mayor.
“Steve has always fought for conservative principles,” Trump said in a written statement. “He understands the importance of fiscal discipline and the need to eliminate burdensome regulations that choke the economy. Hialeah is a shining example of America’s entrepreneurial spirit. Bovo gets that small businesses, not the government, are the job creators. He will fight to get government out of the way.”
Already a front-runner to succeed Carlos Hernández in the Hialeah Mayor seat — Hernández must leave office because of term limits — Bovo is all but a shoo-in after Trump’s endorsement.
Born in Queens, New York, Bovo first served in a public capacity when he won a Hialeah City Council seat in 1998. His colleagues on the Council later selected him to be their president.
Ten years later, he successfully ran for a seat in the Florida House to represent District 110. He won reelection two years later unopposed.
Bovo then won a seat on the nonpartisan Miami-Dade County Commission in 2010 and led the body as chair during the 2017-2018 term. He frequently took moderate, conservative positions from the dais, and his interest spanned a spectrum of issues reflected in his legislation and leadership roles, with transportation taking precedence in the latter years of his commissionership.
In 2020, months before he would have had to resign due to term limits, he left office to run for County Mayor, a race he ultimately lost to Daniella Levine Cava. His campaign positioned him as a conservative alternative to Levine Cava’s “liberal agenda.”
Bovo has “tackled the status quo,” Trump wrote, by spearheading the successful passage of Miami-Dade County pension reforms and the term limits that last year forced him to leave office. Endorsements by the South Florida Police Benevolent Association, Fraternal Order of Police, and Hialeah Association of Firefighters reflect Bovo’s “front and center” support of first responders, Trump wrote.
“I also have no doubt that Steve will (stand up) to the far-left agenda that looks to change America. Steve, like so many families in Hialeah, knows how socialism destroys a country from within with policies that give government way too much power over our lives,” Trump wrote. “The great people of Hialeah understand the importance of electing good candidates to local government that will stop the social experiments of the extremists and their reckless tax and spending agenda that’s crippling communities and killing jobs.”
Trump enjoyed massive support in Hialeah, Florida’s fifth-most-populous city and the second-most populous municipality in Miami-Dade County. His share of the vote in November ranged from 70% to 78% at precincts across the city.
Gov. Ron DeSantis in February committed to supporting Bovo if he ran for Hialeah Mayor, encouraging him to “go ahead and throw your hat into the ring.”
Fellow Republican and former Hialeah Council member Isis Garcia-Martinez is also running for the technically nonpartisan position. She made city history as the first Hispanic woman to serve as Hialeah Council president.
In March, she characterized Bovo’s candidacy as a “backup plan” to his primary goal of being elected Miami-Dade Mayor. Hialeah, she said, deserves “a Mayor who thinks of them first and not … because he is out of options and needs a job.”
Other candidates include Fernando Godo, a previous City Council candidate and activist who led calls in 2019 to oust Hernández; Julio Martinez, who ran in 2013; and Hialeah Resident Juan Santana, who ran for Mayor in 2013 and 2017.
But according to Trump, no one is better suited for the job than Bovo.
“As Mayor, Bovo will fight for the values that are now under attack by the Radical Left,” he wrote. “That’s why I’m asking the amazing people of Hialeah to join me in this fight by supporting Esteban ‘Steve’ Bovo for Mayor of Hialeah. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Florida Politics contacted Bovo for comment but did not receive a response by press time.