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In Miami-Dade race, attacks over character

At the heart of the latest rash of attacks flying in the Miami-Dade mayor's race: each candidate's integrity.

Since the beginning of the race, Carlos Gimenez has been running on his character, touting himself as the voice of opposition and honesty on the county commission. His campaign has tried to juxtapose that with his opponent, Julio Robaina, the former mayor of Hialeah under federal criminal investigation for his ties to a convicted Ponzi schemer.

In recent weeks, Robaina's camp has latched onto a mysterious robocall bashing Hialeah in an attempt to poke at Gimenez's integrity. The latest examples of the character battle have come in third-party political advertisements.

One Spanish-language radio ad suggests Gimenez is behind the aforementioned robocall. Gimenez has said repeatedly he had nothing to do with it, but the ad points to the group behind the call having the same accountant -- and using the same woman's voice -- as Gimenez's campaign.

"Now Commissioner Gimenez hides," the ad says, adding that Gimenez shows a "lack of leadership integrity." "When you offend one community, you offend us all."

The group behind the ad is Citizens for Clarity, an electioneering organization that registered with Miami-Dade County in April and has not reported raising any money. The group is registered to Ileana Llorella and lists a Northwest Miami-Dade address.

We called Llorella’s number listed in the group registration documents. A woman also named Ileana, who identified herself as Llorella's mother, said her daughter is out of town and may not be available for comment until next week.

Meantime, Gimenez's electioneering organization, Common Sense Now, has put out a robocall suggesting that Robaina's criticisms of Gimenez show Robaina "is getting real desperate."

"Tell Robaina that we deserve honesty. That we want integrity. That we've had enough," the call says. "We don't want Robaina. We don't need Robaina. We don't deserve Robaina."

The calls and ads ramped up this week, right after absentee ballots in the race came out. More are certain to come, with early voting beginning on June 18 for the election 10 days later.

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