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Miami mayoral candidate: I did not consider dropping out over absentee-ballot investigation

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami mayoral candidate Francis Suarez said a state investigation into his campaign for unlawfully submitting absentee-ballot requests online did not make him consider dropping out of the high-profile race.

The probe ended Friday with his campaign manager and cousin Esteban "Steve" Suarez and operations manager Juan Pablo Baggini receiving probation after each was charged with a misdemeanor for violating Florida elections law.

Francis Suarez, a city commissioner, said in an interview with the Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald on Friday that having his well-heeled campaign engulfed in an absentee-ballot scandal never forced him to think of leaving the race against incumbent Mayor Tomás Regalado.

"I am not planning on dropping out," he said. "I've run this race for the year. I've run it very hard."

Of dropping out, he added: "That's never been my intent."

Suarez said he and his volunteers, who have been meeting Saturday mornings to walk the city, have knocked on nearly 10,000 voters' doors since launching his effort in January.

The investigation by the Miami-Dade state attorney's office prompted him to bring on new legal counsel, Suarez said -- Ron Meyer and Jennifer Blohm, both well known Tallahassee elections attorneys -- to keep his campaign on the up-and-up.

"It is a big endeavor -- it's over a million-dollar operation," Suarez said of the campaign. "And I think it has to be run that way."

He acknowledged, however, that the investigation has created negative publicity for him a little more than two months before the Nov. 5 election. "One never gets involved in politics for negative things," Suarez said.

The charges against Suarez's campaign aides capped a rough several weeks for the candidate. His campaign drew criticism for poking at Regalado in a campaign ad mentioning an 18-year-old Tased to death on Miami Beach. And his commission office fired a receptionist after her tweets bashing constituents were made public.

As of Friday, Suarez had yet to sign a letter resigning from his commission seat. The resign-to-run deadline is Tuesday.

"We'll see if I get to Tuesday," he joked on Friday. Then, more seriously, he added: "My intention was always to resign on time."

Comments

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Miro

great work patty on getting this out there!!!!

Ellen

Hmmmmmm .. who benefits from all this sudden - bad publicity??? Coinsidences...

Mira

Next, he'll join Rick Scott's campaign.

Evelito

Francis is done, his campaign is being run by amateurs

a*Blip*

And Here is the Most Ignored Candidate in the race for the mayors office...

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff has a PhD in neuroscience and works in a field where he actually helps people. He works with Alzheimer's patience.

He has a plan to increase affordable mass transit, and utilize energy efficient technology reducing our cities carbon foot print; all while saving taxpayers millions on energy costs for the city.

He has vowed to root out corruption by any means necessary, including soliciting the help of the DOJ.

He has plans to increase the availability of affordable housing, and address homelessness in our city.

He has plans to increase trade with the Caribbean; and facilitate the creation of thousands of decent, living wage paying jobs in our city.

He has said that he believes in sensible drug policies, medical cannabis, and that GMO's ought to be labeled.

He is the type of candidate this City needs; Someone of integrity and character. Someone the people of this city can believe in.

So he doesn't have 5 and 6 figure contributors... So he's not in anyone's pocket and doesn't owe anyone any "Favors". can anyone tell me, how is that is a BAD thing?

Tell me that he wouldn't be better than Regalado... and then tell me why.

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