Miami incumbents hold on in election; District 1 and 2 races end in runoffs

It may seem unbelievable, but 1,571 people in Miami voted for a man who stands accused of public corruption charges like bribery and money laundering and unlawful compensation from abusing the very position they want to put him back into.

What are these people smoking?

Former commissioner (because he was suspended by the governor after being arrested) Alex Diaz de la Portilla got the majority of the vote with 37% of the District 1 voters choosing him. He won in all three categories — vote by mail, early voting and Election Day. Auto parts dealer Miguel Gabela, who has ran for this seat twice before and forced ADLP into a runoff in 2019, will have a rematch after getting 29% on Tuesday.

Neither Diaz de la Portilla or Gabela returned calls to Political Cortadito.

Mercedes “Merci” Rodriguez came in third with 22%, as predicted in a poll that Political Cortadito wrote about recently. The other two candidates, Marvin Tapia and Frank Pichel, got single digit support.

But most of those votes were protest votes against ADLP and should go to Gabela in the Nov. 21 runoff.

In District 2, incumbent Commissioner Sabina Covo got 39% of the vote, sending her to a runoff against banker and human rights activist Damian Pardo, who got 26. Lawyer Eddy Leal, the former counsel to Mayor Francis Suarez, got 15%, and James Torres, president of the Downtown Neighbors Alliance, got 10%. The rest of the clown car got single digit support.

“This is a seat that really hasn’t made a difference in a long time,” Pardo said. “They know their interests are not being served and they want a change.”

Pardo says that Covo ran on fighting corruption and has done nada. “What she’s done is fit in,” he said.

Late Tuesday, he had still not talked to the other candidates. But he does expect support from Torres and Leal.

“I have a good relationship with both of the and I’m sure we’re going to be talking,” Pardo said.

In the third race in District 4, Commissioner Manolo Reyes — who just announced he has cancer — won with 86% of the vote against Andres Vallina, who didn’t really campaign.

The runoff is Nov. 21.