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Hialeah mayoral hopefuls trade (even more) barbs

Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez says he will soon release video of his opponent’s campaign workers and fire fighters intimidating senior citizens and asking for their absentee ballots.

Hernandez dropped the news Wednesday during a debate against his rival, former Mayor Raul Martinez, on América TeVe’s A Mano Limpia.

"You’ll see them in a building, at night, collecting ballots. And that’s something that’s not right, and something that shouldn't be done," Hernandez said.

Martinez denied any wrongdoing by his campaign, and offered this theory: "They were people who were disguised or claiming to be with my campaign."

Hernandez at first faltered and stuttered when he opened the debate with news of the alleged video. Martinez never lost his calm or seemed surprised by the allegation.

He finished the debate by attacking as "lies" the very accomplishments that Hernandez touts.

Martinez held up what he said was a letter that said the city is liable for at least $1.3 million for breaking a contract to end a controversial program that sends infractions to drivers who are caught on camera running red lights. Hernandez has repeatedly referred to ending the program as an accomplishment of his administration.


Martinez also claimed that, contrary to Hernandez’s claims, the current mayor has voted to raise taxes during his tenure on the City Council: in 2006.

Hernandez interrupted Martinez repeatedly, saying, "That’s not true."

"All these things that he’s been talking about and that he feels proud of, I can’t feel proud of a government  that is not doing it transparently and clearly to our community," Martinez said.

The Spanish-language TV station also put Hernandez on the spot when it played a recording of a robocall that went out this week claiming Martinez "threatens with throwing punches and taking your absentee ballot."

The electioneering committee that paid for the call, Citizens for a Reality Check, has ties to Hernandez’s campaign manager, Sasha Tirador.

"That committee has nothing to do with me," said Hernandez, who said it was the first time he had heard the call.

Hernandez turned the tables on Martinez, who has his own electioneering committee, saying, "I haven’t used one dollar... to attack him like he has attacked me."

--CHRISTINA VEIGA

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