The Miami Dolphins’ short-lived quest for a subsidized stadium renovation could have turned out a lot worse for Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez: Voters could have handed him a resounding political defeat at the polls had they rejected the deal he negotiated.
But the Florida House of Representatives effectively canceled the referendum, for now shielding the mayor and county commissioners from much of the fallout.
Without a public vote, the politicians who supported the stadium deal cannot declare victory. But they also don’t face the prospect of seeking reelection after a potential loss.
“There’s no animosity toward me,” Gimenez said in an interview shortly after lawmakers concluded their annual legislative session Friday without taking up the bill necessary for the special election to take place.
Gimenez required the referendum, which club executives had hoped to avoid. He also forced the team to make a nearly $4.8 million nonrefundable payment to cover election costs. The county will get to keep the more-than $1 million left over.
But despite those concessions, merely negotiating with the Dolphins has tarnished Gimenez’s reputation among some former supporters who liked him in part for stridently opposing public financing for the Miami Marlins’ ballpark.