The Florida chapter of America’s third-largest labor union is throwing its collective weight behind Republican government relations specialist Kevin Marino Cabrera’s campaign for the Miami-Dade County Commission.
Cabrera’s campaign announced Tuesday that he’d clinched an endorsement from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Self-described as “the nation’s largest and fastest growing public service employees union,” the organization boasts more than 1.4 million members across the country, with 20 chapters in South Florida.
“Kevin Marino Cabrera has years of public policy experience, and we are confident that under his leadership, AFSCME Florida members will have a Commissioner watching out for the interests of our membership in Miami,” said Vicki Hall, AFSCME Florida President and International Vice President.
“We look forward to working with him on the critical issues of affordability, protecting waterways and Biscayne Bay and advancing the county’s transportation SMART Plan.”
AFSCME joins other organizations, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Hispanic Police Officers Association and Associated Builders and Contractors, East Coast Chapter, in backing Cabrera.
He’s also enjoyed support from several current and former elected officials, including former President Donald Trump — whom Cabrera worked for during the 2020 election cycle — U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, Florida Chief Financial Officer and Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, state Rep. Daniel Perez of Miami, Hialeah Mayor Esteban “Steve” Bovo, Hialeah City Council Members Bryan Calvo, Vivian Casals Muñoz and Luis Rodriguez, and Miami City Commissioners Joe Carollo and Alex Diaz de la Portilla.
Prior to joining global strategy firm Mercury as a senior vice president, Cabrera worked for years as an operative for numerous GOP politicians and organizations, including Trump and the Republican National Committee, Florida Supreme Court Justice John Couriel, former Gov. Jeb Bush and former U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo.
Cabrera held public office once as an elected Councilman on a Miami-Dade land-use zoning board. He’s married to Republican state Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera.
Of the AFSCME endorsement, Cabrera said in a statement, “Miami-Dade County employees are some of the hardest working and most committed public servants in our state. I am grateful for their support because they know we need to keep working as a team across all departments to ensure our residents continue to receive the excellent service they deserve.”
This year, he faces three opponents in the technically nonpartisan contest to succeed longtime District 6 Miami-Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who must leave office due to term limits voters approved in 2012.
Two of his opponents — entrepreneur Dariel Fernandez and Coral Gables Commissioner Jorge Fors Jr., who secured an endorsement from Sosa — are fellow Republicans. The lone Democrat in the race is Miami Springs Councilman Victor Vázquez, a lifelong educator and Air Force veteran.
District 6 covers a central portion of Miami-Dade, including part or all of the cities of Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens and West Miami; parts of Coral Gables, Hialeah and Miami; and some of the county’s unincorporated area. The district also contains Miami International Airport, one of the county’s top two economic engines, and a Miami golf course being redeveloped as a soccer stadium complex for the city’s Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami CF.
Miami-Dade law requires a County Commission candidate to receive more than half the votes cast during the Aug. 23 Primary to win office.
If no candidate captures that share of the vote, the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes will compete in a runoff Nov. 8.