Updated: 2:46 p.m.
Florida Democrats are helping plan a campaign announcement next week for Jean Monestime, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, to kick-off his run for county mayor in 2016, according to multiple sources.
It's not known whether Monestime, a Democrat, has actually decided to challenge incumbent Mayor Carlos Gimenez. But the possibility is serious enough that preparations are being made for an announcement event that would mark a successful effort by state Democrats to recruit a party standard-bearer to run against Miami-Dade's senior county-level Republican.
The announcement planning was confirmed by three Democratic sources, including one who spoke to Monestime this week. No date has been picked, but the idea is to hold it Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The source who spoke to Monestime said he plans to run. The two-term commissioner did not respond to an interview request Wednesday.
Planning for a kick-off next week would still give Monestime the holiday weekend to make a final decision on whether to enter the most high-profile race in local politics.
The original post, with more background, is below:
Jean Monestime, Miami-Dade's commission chairman, is being heavily courted by state Democrats to challenge Mayor Carlos Gimenez in 2016, according to several sources close to the talks.
The first Haitian-American to hold the chairman's post, Monestime would bring the backing of the Democratic Party to an officially non-partisan race that's currently between two Hispanic Republicans: Gimenez and Raquel Regalado, a two-term school board member and the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado.
Monestime did not respond to an interview request Wednesday morning, but the sources close to the talks said the two-term county commissioner has been approached by Democratic leaders about the 2016 mayoral race in a broader effort to recruit local candidates for the party's Municipal Victory effort statewide.
Monestime is described as seriously considering the possibility. His potential candidacy comes after a tense year that saw him at odds with the Gimenez administration, particularly on the mayor's plan to legalize the Uber ride-hailing service.
A mayoral bid would be a huge gamble for Monestime, since the state's "resign-to-run" would require him to surrender his commission seat at the end of 2016. But state Democrats are laying out a "path to victory" for Monestime, according to the sources, given the expected flood of Democratic votes in Miami-Dade from a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and his perceived ability to consolidate and energize the county's black vote.