La Gringa For Miami: How A Special Election Is Changing Politics In South Florida

What’s News In This Story?

Eileen Higgins has a good chance to win an open seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission Tuesday. 

Higgins is a Democrat. If she wins the election, then Democrats would have 7 of the 13 seats on the Commission.  

-Despite being technically non-partisan, the race has become politicized by both the local Democratic and Republican parties. 

-Bruno Barreiro represented the 5th district (which stretches from Miami Beach to Little Havana and includes much of Downtown Miami) for 20 years. He was forced to step down in order to run for Congress due to a new state “resign to run” law. 

Zoraida Barreiro has benefited from the support of the Miami-Dade Republican Party.

-Barreiro’s wife, Zoraida is running to succeed him in the seat. She was born in Cuba and helps run her family’s home healthcare business in Miami. 

-Higgins was born in Ohio and raised in New Mexico. She also spent time in Latin America running Peace Corps operations and in Washington, D.C. where she worked for the State Department. She now runs a marketing company. 

Eileen Higgins has motivated Democrats and inspired the Miami-Dade Democratic Party to back her. Will it be enough?

-A white woman (hence the “la gringa” nickname)  probably wouldn’t have stood a chance in this district in recent decades. But Higgins has run a smart campaign that has motivated Democrats to get off the sidelines and commit resources to getting her elected.

-Higgins also speaks close to fluent Spanish, which has helped her while campaigning in the nearly 63% Hispanic district. 

-If Higgins can win, experts think that Democrats will copy her campaign and make other local races like the upcoming 2020 Mayor race a partisan affair. 

Higgins and Patrick Hidalgo look at a canvassing list on an iPhone.

***”Why Does Any Of This Matter?”***: Because local elections in Miami have historically been non-partisan and that is about to change, probably to the benefit of Democrats. 

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About the Author
Rich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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