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Joe Martinez might run for Miami-Dade mayor, and his wife for county commission


The Martinez household may have two candidates for county office next year: Joe Martinez for mayor and his wife, Ana, for the commission seat he once held and which is currently occupied by Juan C. Zapata.

Joe Martinez, the former chairman of the commission who lost his bid for county mayor in 2012, discussed both potential races in an interview with Naked Politics. Ana Martinez, a Republican who works in the insurance industry, did not respond to a request for an interview. 

"You could have a husband and a wife on the ballot, or you could have neither of us," said Joe Martinez, a Republican.  

If she runs, Ana Martinez would seek to represent District 11, which her husband represented until his failed 2012 challenge of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Zapata won an election to fill Martinez's open seat in 2012.

Zapata recently faced a dust-up over his use of $30,000 in county funds to pay tuition at Harvard for a master's program. Zapata returned the money after a Univision inquiry about it. 

Zapata also was not available for an interview. Of the seven commissioners up for reelection in 2016, Zapata is the only who still hasn't filed to run. In the wake of the tuition controversy, Zapata said he planned to seek another four-year term. 

As a commissioner, Zapata has pushed for economic development in his western district, which includes West Kendall. He has led a campaign to rebrand the area the "West End." The former state lawmaker also has been a leading Gimenez administration critic.

Joe Martinez said his wife "is interested" in running for Zapata's seat. "If she wants to run," he said, "I would obviously support her."

As for his own ambitions, Martinez said he will decide by January whether to mount a second challenge to Gimenez. In 2014, he waged a failed bid for Congress.

Should he run for mayor, he said he plans a campaign finance strategy usually reserved for the very wealthy: self-funding. 

"I'm not going to raise money," said Martinez, a former police officer now listed as a consultant for the Reyes Law Firm's governmental-affairs office. "It will be my own." 

Martinez said he could commit about $1 million to a race. "I saved quite a bit," he said. "I really care about this county."