‘Fed up’: Cindy Lerner launches rematch against Raquel Regalado for Miami-Dade Commission

Cindy Lerner CL
She vows to fight ‘corruption, influence peddling, self-dealing, selling out the Everglades to big developers, breaking promises and betraying our communities.’

Former Rep. Cindy Lerner, who served for eight years as the Mayor of Pinecrest, is again running for the District 7 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

She’s taking on a familiar foe, Commissioner Raquel Regalado, a former School Board member who defeated her by just 1 percentage point in 2020.

This time around, Lerner is bringing a sense of outrage to the race.

In a new video accompanying her campaign’s launch Thursday, she cites the actions of numerous locally elected officials, all Republican, who attracted unflattering headlines over the past year.

Among them: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who is under state and federal investigation for alleged pay-to-play schemes; former Miami Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis removed from office after his arrest on several corruption charges; and Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo, who lost a $63.5 million lawsuit in June over his harassment of business owners in his district.

Lerner also takes aim at Regalado for her vote in December to allow construction of a warehouse complex in an area previously protected against commercial development and a subsequent vote to override a mayoral veto of the move.

“These days, I don’t know about you, but I can’t read the news without getting angry,” she says in the two-minute video.

“Corruption, influence peddling, self-dealing, selling out the Everglades to big developers, breaking promises and betraying our communities — I am angry, and I’m fed up. We all should be.”

Florida Politics contacted Regalado for a response to Lerner’s criticism, but she declined to comment.

Lerner’s video touts the “hundreds of hours of public meetings” she participated in, some of which led to “heated debates” in which she said, “At times, I did lose my cool.” It also notes the work she did outside of office to promote renewable energy and her fights against Florida Power & Light over its plans to install power lines incompatible with city planning.

“I made sure residents had an outsized voice in their local government, creating citizen boards to guide Pinecrest’s future instead of leaving all the decisions to politicians,” she said.

A Democrat and lawyer by training, Lerner served one term in the Florida House from 1998 to 2000. She took office as Pinecrest’s third Mayor in 2008 and served until she reached term limits in 2016. During her time in office, she chaired the National League of Cities’ Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee and won “Municipal Elected Official of the Year” honors from the South Florida chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

She is the first Democrat to challenge Regalado this year in District 7, which covers Pinecrest, Key Biscayne, portions of Coral Gables, South Miami and Miami, including the neighborhoods of Coconut Grove and Virginia Key, and the unincorporated neighborhoods of Kendall and Sunset.

Republican candidate Richard Praschnik, an appointed Community Council Zoning Appeals Board member, is also running.

Regalado filed for re-election Sept. 21 and raised $20,000 through the end of the month, the last date for which campaign finance information is available. Combined with carry-over funds from prior races, she has about $594,000 to defend her seat on the 13-member County Commission.

Praschnik, who filed to run July 10, has raised about $11,000.

The Miami-Dade Commission is technically nonpartisan, as are its elections. Accordingly, all candidates for each seat will compete against one another in the Aug. 20, 2024, Primary Election, regardless of party affiliation.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the two top vote-earners will compete in a runoff culminating in the Nov. 5, 2024, General Election.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • My Take

    October 26, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    Southeast Florida, where NJ and NY now meld with the Caribbean. Don’t expect good government.
    Though there is somewhat of a tradition. The sheriff of Broward Co. was, I believe in thè 40s, notorious nationally. Clark?

  • rick whitaker

    October 26, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    lerner sounds like she is heads above her competition, i hope she wins

  • Gary S Winston

    October 27, 2023 at 8:05 am

    We need to vote for and elect a neighboring candidate who, after being sworn in, supports and represents us, not just themselves. Former Mayor Cindy Lerner is the perfect choice! It’s time – it’s NECESSARY – to hear our voice and vote as neighbors at the Board of County Commision meetings Just because we can’t attend or aren’t allowed to speak beyond 1 minute at those meeting, our thoughts, opinions and votes should be spoken out and pushed for by our Commissioner. Let’s elect Cindy! Let’s hear our voice at the BCC meetings!

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