City of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez is running for mayor against incumbent Tomas Regalado.
Suarez, the 35-year-old son of former Mayor Xavier Suarez, announced his candidacy Tuesday morning at his Coral Gate home. But the campaign has long been under way: the Miami Herald reported last week Suarez raised over $460,000 in the last three months of 2012 through The Future Is Now, his "electioneering communications organization."
According to CBS Miami, Suarez has said he will work toward "replenishing the city's rainy day funds, promote small business, beef up the police force and make the job of Miami's mayor a major player on the national stage." (As if our mayors didn't make national news already.)
A Miami native, Suarez was first elected to the District 4 chair on the city commission in 2009 after a career in law and real estate, then re-elected for a four-year term in 2011. His district covers parts of West Flagler, Flagami, and Coral Way.
Observers say Suarez faces a tough task, but "I think he's got a hell of a shot," father Xavier Suarez, now a sitting Miami-Dade County Commissioner, told NBC6. "We are like the Kennedy family, we're a big family and we're gonna be out there campaigning."
The new candidate said he would establish a more stable city government, if elected -- a point on which he criticized Regalado Sunday morning on "Facing South Florida."
"We've had four city managers in three years, we've had key staff quitting at very inopportune times, we've had... a variety of different public spats between the mayor and the police chief and other city leaders," Suarez said. "So it hasn't been a three-year period where the city of Miami is heading in a direction that I think the residents can feel proud of."
During his three years in office, Suarez has had mixed results passing policy. In 2011, he championed changes to the city zoning code that made it easier to build affordable housing. But his biggest legislative push to date — an effort to create a strong-mayor form of government — failed to find support.
Suarez said he has a couple of new proposals to pitch, including a measure that would reduce permit fees for home repairs that cost less than $2,500. He also said he has ideas for using technology to make city departments run more smoothly.
If campaign contributions are any indication, Suarez will have the support of key business leaders, including Jackson Health System CEO and former city manager Carlos A. Migoya and former Mayor Manny Diaz.
The election ends with a vote on November 5.