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New kingmaker on Miami Beach

The newly elected chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, Joe Garcia, has endorsed a candidate for the Miami Beach City Commission - without approval from other party leaders and before any other Democratic candidates may have launched campaigns.

On party stationery, Garcia distributed a letter endorsing Jonah Wolfson for the Group IV seat currently held by Simon Cruz, who is running for mayor in the Nov. 7 election.

City candidates appear on the ballot without party affiliation, but it's not unusual for local parties to groom candidates for higher office.

The only other candidate in the race is a Republican, Luis Salom, though other Democrats could run on if they filed paperwork by Sept. 7.

"I had a strong candidate and I pulled the trigger,''  Garcia said. "My job is to get Democrats elected."