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A thin Democratic bench -- in Florida and in Miami-Dade?

Over at our sister blog The Buzz, Adam Smith takes note of Florida Democrats' thin bench of possible candidates for statewide office, following Tuesday's election of a Democrat for mayor of Tampa.

Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade, no major Democratic candidate has stepped up to seek the mayoral post after last week's ouster of Carlos Alvarez. The job is nonpartisan, but mayor's races typically feature a leading Democratic and Republican contenders (Alvarez was a Republican; his predecessor, Alex Penelas, a Democrat).

The three top candidates to replace Alvarez now -- Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez and former state Rep. Marcelo Llorente -- are all Republican. A majority of voters in Miami-Dade are registered Democrat.

It is unclear if the Miami-Dade Democratic is recruiting hopefuls to seek the post, though it may be difficult to do so at this point. A special election date hasn't been set, but it will likely be in May, leaving very little time for candidates to fundraise and improve their name recognition to have a shot at winning.

"Running for mayor in a place like Miami, it's a significant thing to do," said state Democratic strategist Steve Schale. "Part of that logical decision is, do I think I can win?"

Special elections, he added, leave little time to build campaign operations. Parties don't want to recruit candidates for what Schale called "kamikaze missions."


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