Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Carlos Gimenez wants to make sure Hispanic voters know he's conservative.
"Carlos Gimenez is what we need," says one of his political advertisements on Spanish-language radio. "Carlos Gimenez, man of principle, conservative and Republican." (Or "republican," his campaign says. Read on.)
Here's the wrinkle: The mayor's post is non-partisan.
It is generally well-known in Miami-Dade political circles which candidate is affiliated to which party. Former state Rep. Marcelo Llorente, for example, served as a Republican in the Florida Legislature. Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina has long been involved in the local GOP and has ads touting endorsements from Republican heavyweights such as former Gov. Jeb Bush and former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
Gimenez, a former county commissioner, is also a Republican but has never run in a partisan seat.
The Florida Division of Elections has said in previous legal opinions unrelated to the current Miami-Dade race that candidates running for non-partisan municipal office should not include their party affiliation in political advertisements.
"[A]s a nonpartisan municipal candidate, you may not publicly represent or advertise yourself as a member of any political party," says a 2003 opinion. "Thus, information stating your political affiliation may not appear in your political advertising." (The same language is cited in a 2010 opinion.)
Gimenez's campaign, after reviewing the decisions, said Sunday the ad is not a reference to the GOP.
"Carlos Gimenez's use of the word 'republican' was a statement about his political philosophy, not his party affiliation," campaign spokeswoman Jude Faerron said in an e-mail.
Listen to the end of the advertisement here (it's a Real Player file).