The family chart of Miami politics can make for some interesting dotted lines when mapping alliances. Take the Suarez family.
Xavier Suarez, a former Miami mayor, holds the Miami-Dade Couty Commission seat vacated by Carlos Gimenez (a former Miami city manager) for his successful run for Miami-Dade mayor in 2011. Suarez's son, Francis Suarez, sits on the Miami City Commission and is running for his father's old job: Miami mayor.
The elder Suarez had considered challenging Gimenez in the 2016 mayoral race and depleted most of his campaign war chest last summer running attack ads against him before opting to run for reelection to the county commission instead. So perhaps it's not a surprise that the two aren't close. But it's certainly interesting to consider who Gimenez considers his top ally on the Miami City Commission: Francis Suarez.
"Frankly, to be totally open about it, the person that influences the mayor and has access to him is my son," Xavier Suarez said during a meeting Thursday with the Miami Herald Editorial Board. "I don't have a lot of access to the mayor. I don't know why. That's one of the things he should improve on."
A response from Gimenez's office emphasized the friction between the two camps. Wrote Gimenez spokesman Michael Hernández: "Mayor Gimenez speaks very frequently with members of our Board of County Commissioners, including Commissioner Suarez. It is yet another curious statement from the Commissioner from District 7 who often calls the Mayor's Chief of Staff, Communications Director and Deputy Mayors whenever he has an issue which requires administration attention."
Asked to weigh in, Francis Suarez wrote: "The Mayor certainly has been accessible to me and we have collaborated on a lot of issues that benefit our residents. Come to think of it, I can't think of an elected official in Miami-Dade County that I don't have access to."
We should also mention: Gimenez is running against school board member Raquel Regalado, whose father, Tomás Regalado, is mayor of Miami and frequently scraps with the younger Suarez on city matters. Should Raquel lose the county mayoral race in August, she's considered a top contender to either challenge Suarez to succeed her father as city mayor or run for the commission seat that Francis Suarez will be vacating.
Yes, we need a chart.