It’s three weeks before Election Day, and Julio Robaina is spending Sunday clad in a suit and tie, making pit stops at four black churches to deliver a message of inclusiveness to Haitian-American voters.
The next day Carlos Gimenez visits three senior centers with a few of his relatives to introduce himself as a fellow Cuban-American with strong family and professional ties to the community.
With a June 28 runoff in sight and absentee ballots already on their way to many voters, the race for Miami-Dade’s next mayor has cranked into high gear — which means shaking hands with strangers, dancing with viejitas at Hispanic senior centers and holding forth in pulpits.
The two opponents, survivors of an 11-candidate contest last month, are each looking to broaden their appeal to voters who bypassed them in the first round.
Gimenez, a former county commissioner, is trying to chip away at Robaina’s older, Hispanic political base. Robaina, the former mayor of Hialeah, is attempting to make inroads with black voters.