MIAMI , -- Miami Mayor Francis Suarez declared a reelection win Tuesday, after a large lead over less-known challengers.
According to the Miami-Dade County supervisor for elections, Suarez, a 44-year-old attorney in real estate, held a large lead in the vote count, with 79% of votes cast and approximately 85% of precincts reporting. Max Martinez, his nearest rival, received 11% of the votes.
Suarez stated in a speech that "Today, we embark upon a new chapter -- to finish what we started to create the most fair, successful city in our nation, to create an agenda for America to scale up,"
National magazines have profiled the first-term Cuban American politician. He raised more than $5M for the race than he spent on it. Suarez's father was the first Cuban-born mayor of the city. He told the AP that he hoped to repeat 2017's results, when he received 86% of the vote.
Although the Miami mayoral race does not have a party, Suarez is a Republican. He was critical of President Donald Trump's policies and he has opposed the Florida governor's pandemic plans. Ron DeSantis' decision to stop local communities from instituting mandates for masks was a major mistake.
Suarez enjoys the fame that comes with leading Miami's 450,000-strong population and $1.3 billion budget. Miami-Dade County has 2.7 million residents and a budget of $9 billion. It includes 33 municipalities like Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, and Homestead, all located at the edge the Everglades.
Suarez met with big tech investors and players over the past 10 years, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel who purchased a Miami Beach house. Analysts believe Suarez was smart to grab the moment tech investors were looking at Florida because of its lack COVID-19 restrictions and tax reasons.
Miami hosted a Bitcoin conference earlier in the year and began accepting funds generated by a cryptocurrency called MiamiCoin. Suarez stated earlier Tuesday that he would receive his next paycheck in Bitcoin.
As 2021 is not yet included in the census, it's unclear how this push led to job creation and migration patterns.
Raul Marrero (maintenance worker) went Tuesday to vote for Mayor for the second consecutive time after supporting him in 2017.
Marrero stated, "I like the ideas that he brings to Miami." He is trying to make Silicon Valley a reality. "Why not?" I ask.