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Miami-Dade commissioner draws old 'nemesis' as a challenger for 2016

@doug_hanks

Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson appears to have garnered the first competitive commission race of the 2016 cycle. 

The two-term commissioner drew a challenge for her District 3 seat this week from former El Portal Mayor Daisy Black, a old rival of Edmonson's from her days in that city's political leadership. "She was my nemesis," Edmonson said. Black was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

With Mayor Carlos Gimenez, County Clerk Harvey Ruvin and seven of the county's 13 commissioners up for reelection next year, 2016 has the potential to be particularly busy for politics on the county level. But so far, no commissioner has received a challenger who has held elected office already or begun to raise money.

District 9's Dennis Moss has two filed challengers: Earl Beaver, a restaurateur, and Rubin Young, who is also running against Ruvin at the same time. Former pharmaceutical salesman Felix Lorenzo, who described himself as an anti-incorporation advocate to the Political Cortadito blog, is running his first race against District 11 Commissioner Juan C. Zapata.   

For Edmonson, 2016 is bringing a challenger who has both name recognition and a track record of winning local office. A longtime council member at El Portal, Black was elected mayor in 2010 but lost a 2014 reelection bid to the city's current mayor, Claudia Cubillos

Edmonson also served as mayor in a city well known for its stormy politics. She was elected El Portal's mayor in 2004, after defeating Black and other candidates. It was the city's first direct election for mayor, a post that previously had been picked among council members. Edmonson and Black served on the council together, and Black's opposed the charter change championed by Edmonson, then the council's mayor, that shifted the mayor's office to an elected position.

Despite the past friction, Edmonson said she wasn't expecting a challenge from Black. "I thought we were on pretty good terms," she said. "I was kind of surprised." 

The race could raise the stakes on Edmonson's eventual position on David Beckham's plan for a privately-financed soccer stadium in Overtown, which sits in District 3. Edmonson has not yet taken a position on the proposal, saying she wants to wait until the Beckham group reveals detailed plans for the stadium. Part of it would sit on county land the Beckham group wants to purchase, and that deal is tentatively set for a commission vote before March.

All county candidates face a non-partisan primary Aug. 30, with a November run-off on Election Day held if no candidate captures more than 50 percent of the primary vote. (Mathematics dictates that a two-person race would be settled in a primary.) 

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