Upset in Hialeah council race could spell trouble for Mayor Stevie Bovo

It was a big surprise for many in Hialeah when nurse Angelica Pacheco beat longtime Councilwoman Vivian Casáls-Muñoz with 52% of the vote despite a negative campaign that called her, of all things, a child abuser.

The upset is also seen by some as a referendum on Mayor Esteban “Stevie” Bovo, who heavily backed Casáls-Muñoz, and came under fire lately for battling Councilman Bryan Calvo on public records. Calvo filed a lawsuit against Bovo and the city after he was charged $6,700 for public records about the 911 call center, which he is trying to assess, as it is his job.

Why wouldn’t that same anti-Bovo sentiment cross over to the other race, where Councilwoman Monica Perez won with 63% of the vote? Because Elias Montes de Oca is completely unknown while Pacheco who had name recognition from running three times prior (losing to Calvo last time, to Jesus Tundidor in 2019). Sources say Pacheco also worked harder and that’s why she got more mail-in or absentee ballots and won in early voting. Casáls-Muñoz got 113 more votes on Election Day but had been resting on her incumbency, name rec and godfathers (Bovo and Miami-Dade Commissioner Rene Garcia).

It was also after a “child abuse” text went out. Pacheco has a 2011 arrest report that indicates she hit her son with a belt when he was 5 years old. Could it be that Hialeah voters don’t think that’s too far from a chancletaso? Or have they heard the story so much by now that all the shock value is gone?

A registered nurse who also runs a rehab center, Pacheco told Ladra Wednesday that Montes de Oca would be her assistant at City Hall. “He is a kind, sweet man with a passion to help others,” Pacheco said Wednesday, almost stunned still.

Read related: Hialeah council candidate has arrests in her past, for assault and child abuse

“I was surprised because I never imagined what this moment would feel like. I tried so hard for so long. It was so hard. It was so far away,” Pacheco said. She credited her victory to the many volunteers that helped her and her roots in the community.

“Many, many people know who I am. I was their family members’ nurse and I made an impact on a person’s life,” she said. “I am their neighbor. I am someone that wants to do good. I want my children to be proud of me.”

She knows what her priority is: “Our problem that is devastating to the community is the affordable housing crisis,” Pacheco said. “We really have to get control of the rising costs of these houses, even if they don’t have so many amenities.

“People want to live with dignity.”

Pacheco and Monica Perez will be sworn in on Monday.