The two candidates for Miami-Dade Mayor are trying to broaden their support outside partisan bases each leaned into during the August election.
Commissioners Daniella Levine Cava and Esteban “Steve” Bovo face each other in the November runoff election. Levine Cava in August received the largest chunk of Democrat voters. Bovo led the field with major Republican support.
On paper, this is a non-partisan race. In the streets, on TV, and online, this is a race between a Democrat, Levine Cava, and a Republican, Bovo.
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A hard fact for Bovo to overcome is that there are simply many more registered Democrats than Republicans in Miami-Dade County. If Levine Cava’s camp can keep Democrat voters in her column, she has the advantage. There are more than 200,000 more registered democrats in the county than Republicans.
This month, you’ve seen the Miami-Dade Democrat Party purchase more than $250,000 worth of political ads supporting Levine Cava and attacking Bovo.
“Obviously I’m supporting one candidate (Biden). That is not the central platform of my campaign by any means. I’m hyper focused on local issues. That to be said, I’m very grateful for the support of the Democratic Party and embrace their help,” Levine Cava said.
Levine Cava’s campaign is also working in conjunction with other Democratic campaigns for Congress, for the Florida House and Florida Senate. Campaigns can be incentivized to work in conjunction with political parties: that is where the volunteers are and where the campaign money is.
“The Democratic Party has made the decision to turn all of these local races into partisan races, which has really been a travesty for a lot of the residents in our community,” Bovo said.
To get into the runoff, Bovo leaned on Republican messaging. Through mail pieces and campaign material, he showed he’s an ally of President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Tallahassee and D.C. He created campaign material prominently featuring Republican officeholders from Miami-Dade, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez and Sen. Marco Rubio.
Now, he's making his pitch to voters, hoping they care more about taxes and services than partisan politics.
“Donald Trump or Joe Biden are not going to take care of the potholes in the local streets, pick up the garbage, or make sure the police are there in three or four minutes when you need them,” Bovo said.
Bovo launched “Women for Bovo” Wednesday, an effort where 350 women go across the county to campaign for him in their specific areas. Bovo’s event was held in the Women’s Park in west Miami-Dade.
“This is about the taxpayer. Making sure our government reflects what the taxpayer expects from it, not from what Washington, or some other subgroup, or fringe group. We provide services,” Bovo said.
There are 450,000 no-party-affiliated voters in the county registered this November.
Wednesday, Levine Cava met with businesses, real estate and hospitality leaders at the Mana Wynwood Convention Center.
“I’m going to be attending more businesses. I’m going to be attending more events as the venues open up and I’m going to continue to communicate, communicate, communicate,” Levine Cava said.
According to the latest county campaign finance reports, Levine Cava has around eight times as much cash-on-hand as Bovo: $1.1 million to $145,000.
Half of Levine Cava’s current money comes from Democrat mega-donor Donald Sussman. To counter Levine Cava’s fundraising advantage, Bovo confirms Gov. Ron DeSantis was in the county this week as the featured speaker at a Bovo fundraiser.