Can Trump finally win Miami-Dade County? An early poll highlights Democratic worries

Douglas Hanks and Max Greenwood, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

John Barrow, a Black candidate in the Democratic primary for sheriff, sees the countywide races as potential turnout drivers for his party — but only if local leaders embrace a slate that appeals to all constituencies. The major overseeing the Miami-Dade Police Department’s personnel bureau said he tried to win Levine Cava’s endorsement in a November meeting with her and Ulvert, only to see her back an Hispanic newcomer to her administration in public safety chief James Reyes.

“I said my background and my story can energize people,” said Barrow, a Caribbean-American who is also gay and the choir director at his church. He said he pitched the value of Democrats backing a Black candidate for sheriff at a time when DeSantis was attacking state diversity programs. “How good would it be to have a Black, gay candidate and to say in Miami-Dade, we still believe in it.”

Last week, Levine Cava announced her endorsement of Reyes, who spent most of his career running Broward County jails before taking over Miami-Dade’s Corrections Department at the end of 2022. Levine Cava appointed him to oversee all of public safety in November, weeks before the Democrat filed to run for sheriff.

Reyes joined two Ulvert clients running for the open county seats, Juan-Carlos Planas for elections supervisor and David Richardson for tax collector. If successful in the August primary, the Ulvert slate — which includes Taddeo in the clerk race — would have Levine Cava’s party running in November with no Black candidates for the partisan countywide offices.

“If party leaders don’t believe we can win countywide as Black Democrats, what chance do we have?” said Willis Howard, a longtime political consultant running for elections supervisor.


The November poll showed Black voters as a key source of Miami-Dade support for Biden, with a 47-point edge over Trump. White voters favored him over Trump by 3 points, while Cuban-American voters picked Trump by 41 points. Trump also won by 10 points with non-Cuban Hispanics.

That survey also showed an abortion-rights referendum overwhelmingly popular in Miami-Dade with 75% support and strong backing from Democrats and independents. That makes it a potential turnout driver for Biden-leaning voters who might otherwise stay home, but only if the Florida Supreme Court allows it on the November ballot.

“Republicans are poised for the first time in decades to put Miami-Dade in play for a presidential election,” said Jesse Manzano-Plaza, a Republican political consultant. “The asterisk is the abortion issue.”


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