Joe Martinez, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, submitted his paperwork Wednesday to run for mayor. He will challenge incumbent Mayor Carlos Gimenez in the first-round August election.
Martinez had long said he would seek the mayor's post. In an interview last week, he told The Miami Herald he was waiting to officially file until after Tuesday's high-stakes commission meeting, when the board narrowly imposed a controversial concession on county workers. Martinez voted against.
In a news release announcing his candidacy, Martinez poked Gimenez -- without mentioning the incumbent's name -- for leaving his commission post to run for mayor in a special election last year following the historic recall of Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
"Many took advantage of this opportunity for personal ambition," Martinez sad. "I could not. I followed the advice of my father to 'Finish what I start' ... However, there is and has been a void in leadership. Miami-Dade County does not need a bureaucrat running the County."
Earlier this month, Martinez said that though he had not yet opened an individual campaign account -- which he opened Wednesday by filing his candidacy -- he had ties to at least one political committee already raising money that could be used for his campaign. Gimenez has been fundraising for months.
Former state Rep. Juan Carlos Zapata had long declared his own candidacy to seek Martinez's West Kendall-based commission post once Martinez jumped to the mayoral race. Zapata has already put up yard signs in the district.
Read Martinez's full release after the jump.
Miami, FL - There have been rumors, speculation, and outright deception in an attempt to siphon support for my candidacy for the Office of Mayor representing our great County. It is time to end those rumors. Today, I have filed papers declaring my candidacy for Mayor of Miami-Dade County.
Miami-Dade County is not alone in facing a recession that has left our country reeling in unemployment, foreclosures, and an overall feeling of despair. We even had the largest recall of an elected official in U.S. history. Many took advantage of this opportunity for personal ambition. I could not. I followed the advice of my father to “Finish what I start”. The residents of District 11 elected me to do a job. My colleagues then chose me to represent them as Chairman of the Commission. As such, I placed my personal ambitions aside for the betterment of the community. However, there is and has been a void in leadership. Miami-Dade County does not need a bureaucrat running the County. What the residents of Miami-Dade County need and deserve is a leader. A visionary; someone who will lead this County and place it among the greatest counties/cities in the world. For too long bureaucrats have been attempting to lead our County and have failed.
As Mayor, my primary objective is to continue with my commitment to maintain a low tax rate, streamline County processes and procedures, improving efficiencies and improving the standards of service. The County’s success depends on the prosperity of its residents and I will continue my efforts in attracting new industries to the County in an effort to stimulate job creation in the real estate market, create a more efficient and cost effective means of public transportation, and to find ways to clean up obsolete ordinances that continue to impede and cause road blocks in small business development.
I promise to listen to the needs of the residents and respond with honesty and humility.