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Former Pinecrest mayor running for Miami-Dade commission


Cindy Lerner, a former mayor of Pinecrest, is running for the District 7 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission that's being vacated by Xavier Suarez in 2020.

Lerner, a lawyer, served as mayor of Pinecrest between 2008 and 2016. The longtime Democrat said she's running to make the county finally grapple with the challenges of sea-level rise, traffic, drinking water and "failing infrastructure." 

"For too long, leaders have danced around pressing issues," Lerner said in a statement."I am running...because we can no longer afford hollow promises that simply waste taxpayer dollars and provide little results."

Lerner was an advocate for Pinecrest's recent failed referendum to use property taxes to borrow money and fund bonds that would let village properties connect to the county's water and sewer systems

District 7 straddles parts of Miami, Pinecrest, South Miami and Coral Gables already has a candidate: former school board member and 2016 mayoral challenger Raquel Regalado, a Republican. Regalado has raised $19,000 for her campaign in one month, including checks from auto magnate Norman Braman (who was her top backer in 2016), county vendor Transportation America, and lobbyists Jorge Luis Lopez and Eric Zichella. Commission elections are non-partisan, but the 2018 cycle saw both parties back their affiliated candidates. 

The big question is whether the man who defeated Regalado three years ago, Mayor Carlos Gimenez, will run for the seat when he leaves office in 2020. Gimenez, a Republican also in a non-partisan post, said recently he is going to run for something, and will announce his plans this summer. The most talked about options for the former county commissioner and former Miami city manager are his old District 7 seat, Miami mayor and congress. 

County term-limit rules restrict commissioners and mayors to two consecutive terms, and 2020 is poised to have open elections for mayor and six commission seats. Of the two incumbents up for election in 2020, Eileen Higgins has filed for reelection. Joe Martinez has not.