With a new poll showing Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez's popularity waning, House Speaker Marco Rubio won't rule out a run against the incumbent.
''I haven't made any decisions about anything,'' Rubio said Friday when asked if he would challenge Alvarez. ``I'm just so focused on being speaker. To start answering questions like that invites lots of other questions.''
That's not a no or a yes. But it is a change from Rubio's clear message last month that he probably wasn't considering a run. What's changed? Pollster Dario Moreno said his new survey suggests Alvarez's pushing of a $2.9 billion spending plan but precious few tax cuts is playing in favor of Rubio, whose aggressive push for property-tax cuts might have helped him as much in Dade as it hurt him in the Capitol.
Still, Rubio has to decide if he's ready for a tough run that could cost upward of $3 million between May (when his term as speaker is effectively up) and August. Businessmen like Norm Braman say they'd be happy to support Rubio, but Alvarez is already tying up cash in Dade.
And the only thing tougher than running and winning against Alvarez would be running Miami-Dade government, which has enough pitfalls and pressures to wound any pol or give him the chance to self-destruct. Just ask Alex Penelas, whose term as mayor became his political epitaph, rather than his springboard, when he ran in 2004 for Senate.