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Miami-Dade mayor lays more groundwork for possible GOP departure


A day after causing a political stir by revealing he may leave the Republican Party to become independent, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez joined a popular radio show to explain why it would be a good idea.

"These labels tend to drive us apart here," Gimenez told 610 WIOD host Jimmy Cefalo. "We don't need that here."

Gimenez emphasized he wasn't yet ready to drop his GOP affiliation, just one week before a tight governor's race between Republican incumbent Rick Scott and former-Republican Charlie Crist. "I'm still considering it," he said. "If it happens, we'll see when it happens."

But the mayor facing reelection in 2016 made no argument against the switch, and a strong case for doing it.

"I want to make sure that people understand when they vote for me, and when they vote for me again, they're voting for Carlos Gimenez and what he stands for. And not some party," he said. "Because I've shown I'm independent. I've shown I can reach across the aisle."

The Democratic Party backed Daniella Levine Cava's successful bid to unseat County Commissioner Lynda Bell, a Republican. Local Democrat leaders said they considered the August race a run-up to backing a challenger to Gimenez in two years. 

"One of the great things about Miami-Dade County is we run in a non-partisan fashion," Gimenez said. "I think there are forces at work trying to make it more and more partisan. We've seen how well that worked in Washington."