Former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas went on Spanish-language radio Wednesday morning to confirm our story from Tuesday that he is considering a run for U.S. Congress against Rep. David Rivera. Penelas, a paid political commentator for Univisión radio and television, would not return The Miami Herald's calls Tuesday.
Penelas talked to WQBA-AM (1140) host Bernadette Pardo about what he called "the nearly annual speculation about the political future of Alex Penelas."
"It's something that, well, I'm considering, but I think we are very far away from really making a decision," he said of a possible congressional run.
Read Pardo's questions and Penelas's answers (both edited) after the jump.
Have you seen a poll looking at how you would do in that district?
Penelas: "I have been shown that information ... as part of the process to try to convince me [to run]. I'm very happy in my personal life ... We had a great blessing four months ago, with the birth of Alexandra. The possibility of being a candidate again, at this moment, is one of the most remote possibilities of my future. Having said that -- having said that -- life takes many turns. Public service is a calling. The political part doesn't interest me as much as before, to be frank. Before, well, politics, the desire to win for the sake of winning -- that's not the part that intrigues me now. The governing part, being part of a national debate, an international debate, and as a centrist figure, as a moderate person -- Democrat that I am, but moderate with many of my positions -- that part interests me. Because I think the country is being defined in this moment by extremes, extremes on one side and another. I think that's unfortunate, because little is being achieved. And this has nothing to do with the incumbent who is in that position at the moment. This has to do with the desire one might have at a given time to return to public service, and that's why I'm considering it."
"I think the probabilities are higher that I won't do it because, again, it would be an extraordinary sacrifice for us right now. For me, the birth of the girl is like a second opportunity that I've been given, that God gave me, to enjoy this daughter. My sons are two grown men, and they were at the end of the day the ones who sacrificed the most, who were sacrificed in the first round of my political life 15 or 20 years ago. But, having said that, I say again, the calling to public service, it's strong."
What does the polling say?
Penelas: "I don't think that I'm telling you anything you don't know. I am a figure who despite not being in public life for seven years, I maintain a high name recognition, in part because of the work I do [with the radio station], with Channel 23. I have remained active in public debate, and the public indisputably has a positive perception about Alex Penelas, the person. Having said that, a campaign is a campaign, and many things can happen."
For when would he have to make a decision? Sometime before qualifying this summer, he said.
Penelas: "There's a series of logistics that have to be prepared, a campaign team"
You seem excited, Pardo said.
Penelas: "It's an extremely difficult decision, to be honest with you, because I am past that time ... when you say something political and put aside your convictions. That period of my life is over. I'd rather not do it, I'm not going to lie to you. I'd rather be calm with my family, with my daughter, with my sons, with my wife, with my business. I'd rather not do it. Having said that, you know, the desire to serve ..."