Candidacy as Therapy

Tomas Regalado formally announced he’s running for mayor of Miami this week.  It was just a formality– the City Commissioner had said he was after the mayor’s chair months ago– on his way out of the polls last fall, when voters returned him to yet another term on the commission.

It’s awful early.  The mayoral election won’t happen until November of 2009. 

Regalado doesn’t need a long time to introduce himself to voters.  He’s been a commissioner for more than eleven years, and has spent many more years as a commentator on Spanish-language radio & TV.

A frequent motive for politicians to jump into a race early is to keep others out, by “sucking up the oxygen in the room”– getting so many donors or so much publicity that they take on an aura of invincibility, discouraging potential competitors.

But that can’t be Regalado’s motive.  He’s made a cottage industry out of opposing the Manny Diaz agenda, a reliable “No” vote on a lot of 4-1 commission votes.  There’s no way he won’t have opposition. 

Commissioners Joe Sanchez and Marc Sarnoff are said to be considering a run.  And if they don’t jump in, I couldn’t envision a scenario in which Manny Diaz would step down as mayor without finding a candidate who would defend his agenda and continue his work.

Besides, I thought, why does Regalado think anyone would pay attention to the city’s “Decision ’09” until the compelling national drama of “Decision ’08” is over?  There’s no way Miamians are focussed on the mayoral contest yet.

I did not cover Regalado’s announcement this week, so his motives for early declaration puzzled me until I read Rebecca Wakefield’s column in the Sun Post.  He told her he’s getting in now, at least in part, because of the recent death of his wife, Raquel.

“I spent a lot of time with Raquel,” he told Wakefield.  “I cannot sit and stare at the ceiling.  This will help me, I don’t want to say heal, but in a way it will help to have other things on my mind.”

Campaigns are not, generally, a soothing pastime.  But if politicking helps Tomas Regalado get through difficult times, what can you say but “Welcome to the campaign trail”? 




One Response

  1. How about Comm. Carlos Gimenez?? He would be the best candidate.

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