A 35-year-old former staffer to then-Congressman David Rivera on Friday announced his candidacy for Miami-Dade mayor, touting a platform centered on promoting Miami-Dade as the economic capital of Latin America.
Alfred Santamaría, 35, filed his candidacy papers a week ago, joining several other relatively unknown mayoral hopefuls. But he is the first candidate beyond incumbent Carlos Gimenez and challenger Raquel Regalado, a school board member and daughter of Miami's mayor, to publicize a run, issue a press release, and promote a launch event. He's planning a reception Saturday at the Biltmore hotel in Coral Gables to formally announce his candidacy.
"Miami is a great city, and has the potential of becoming a leader in our Nation, and competetive on an international level," Santamaría said in a press release sent out by Inclusion Strategy Group, a Miami public relations firm . "Today we are conforming to a city that is stagnant, when we should be demanding a change that positions Miami-Dade as a county rich in job creation, commerce, transportational infrastructure, culture, and social inclusion."
He joins three other candidates who have yet to run money in the mayor's race: Robert Ingram Burke, a former Miami police detective; Williams Armbrister Sr., a former utility foreman who also recently lost a race for the Miami City Commission; and Miguel Angel Eizmendiz, whose candidacy papers lists his email address as email@example.com.
Inclusion Strategy Group's Sylvia Franco said Santamaria once worked for Rivera, the former congressman best known for being investigated by the feds over alleged election fraud and for his friendship with Marco Rubio. She said Santamaria spends most of his time promoting various non-profits and foundations. He was not available for an interview Friday morning.
His press release describes Santamaría as Colombian-born and the holder of two masters and a doctorate. He is listed as the co-founder of GPM, a company that clean technology for Latin American mining companies.
While he is only announcing his candidacy now, Santamaría's social media postings have portrayed him as a candidate-in-waiting for months. A tweet from July 4, 2015 honoring the military included the hashtag #SantamariaNOW and a personalized logo.