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Miami-Dade hopefuls trade barbs in 3 debates

In three televised debates aired over the crucial first weekend of early voting, Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez tried to point out inconsistencies in each other’s records as they enter the final stretch of the campaign to become Miami-Dade’s next mayor.

A week of early voting began Saturday, with the two candidates traversing the county to rally support for the June 28 runoff election. Gimenez opened a new North Dade campaign office and unveiled the endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek. Robaina visited early voting sites with U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and former mayoral rival Luther Campbell.

And the two hopefuls took to the TV airwaves to try to reach voters who are still undecided in the oddly timed special mayoral election. Robaina and Gimenez appeared on television on three occasions: Friday night on WPBT-2’s Issues, Saturday morning on Univisión 23 and Sunday morning on WPLG-ABC 10’s This Week in South Florida with Michael Putney.

A poll conducted last week for The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald by Bendixen & Amandi International showed Gimenez with an 11-point lead over Robaina heading into the waning days of the campaign. Robaina held a slight lead over Gimenez among absentee ballot voters, suggesting the election will come down to which candidate can get more supporters out to the polls this week and on Election Day.

In the three debates, Robaina, the former Hialeah mayor, focused on linking Gimenez, a former county commissioner, to ousted Mayor Carlos Alvarez. Full story here.

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