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Miami-Dade commissioner faces challenge from public defender with well-known family name

The easy part for political novice Keon Hardemon was parlaying his family name into a runoff against twice-elected incumbent Audrey Edmonson in Miami-Dade County’s District 3 commission race.

Stockpiling votes in his Liberty City stronghold where his family has politicked for three decades gave Hardemon enough of an edge in the six-candidate primary field to advance to the Nov. 6 runoff.

But now, with the field narrowed to two for the general election, Hardemon has been forced to stretch for votes outside his base, into neighborhoods like Wynwood, Buena Vista, Miami Shores and the Upper East Side. The lack of name recognition, and a huge fundraising edge enjoyed by Edmonson, leaves Hardemon facing an uphill battle heading into the final week of the election, some political observers say.

“He had enough juice to get into the runoff,’’ said pollster and Florida International University political science professor Dario Moreno, who has been tracking the race. But Edmonson “has too much money, too much organization. As we know, it’s very difficult to beat an incumbent.’’

Moreno said his findings have Edmonson, 59, with a comfortable lead in perhaps the county’s most diverse district of about 200,000, which runs from Overtown, up through Little Haiti, Allapattah, Wynwood, Brownsville and Liberty City, then hugs the coast from Miami Shores down through the Upper East Side and Edgewater.

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