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Alvarez won't endorse... for now

Even as his own campaign grows more secure, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez said he will not get make endorsements in any other local races... at least not yet.

"I have to worry about my campaign," he said Thursday. "Until it's decided, I'm not going to get involved in any campaign."

But the summer qualification period passes without any high-profile candidates entering the race, he said he could make endorsements before the August elections.

And if he does end up in a tough fight this summer but wins without a runoff, he said he might help some candidates during the fall.

Only one county commissioner has drawn opponents - Joe Martinez. He is being challenged by retired Miami policeman Rudy Herbello and marketing executive Whilmer "Whilly" Bermudez. Alvarez's support could make a difference if that race gets tight.

So far, Alvarez's only opponent is Helen Williams, a former teacher who often speaks at School Board meetings. The mayor has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and, on Thursday, won full-throated support from the South Florida AFL-CIO.

That labor group opposed him in 2004 and helped lead the charge against his strong-mayor campaign in 2006. Though still wary of that new government structure, the union leaders who spoke at Thursday's endorsement were unreserved.

They praised his defense of county workers' salaries and his push to lower health insurance costs for employees to cover their spouses and children.

"He's about the workers and the families of workers," said Fred Frost, AFL-CIO president, flanked by leaders from large unions that represent local teachers, transit workers, firefighters and more.

Alvarez said the endorsement was a personal victory, that he was disappointed in himself for not winning the union's backing in 2004.

"We're all blue-collar workers," said Alvarez, a former policeman. "That why I have tried so hard for the last three-plus years to make my actions speak louder than words anyone could say."