Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
Tomás Regalado and Joe Sanchez are the two candidates in the open Miami mayoral race. They're both members of City Council. They're both Republicans. They're both Cuban-Americans. What's the difference between the two? Sanchez is the Florida Marlins' candidate.
Ok, so that's not the only difference between the two. Regalado and Sanchez disagree on several issues, including land-use planning. But Sanchez was a leading supporter of the Marlins new baseball stadium. Regalado was a leading opponent.
The Marlins genuinely are major players in the election, as the Miami Herald has noted:
Sanchez has collected more than $20,000 from the Marlins and their associates, including maximum $500 contributions from team owner Jeffrey Loria and his wife, and Major League Baseball President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Dupuy and his spouse.
In the push to get Sanchez elected, the Marlins have held fundraisers, with thousands of dollars of contributions coming in from a host of New York City residents around Major League Baseball's Park Avenue headquarters.
Sanchez has campaigned at senior centers around Miami with Billy the Marlin, the ballclub's eight-foot-tall mascot. At one ballgame, Sanchez was shown on the big screen seated between a large group of seniors.
Another time, he was interviewed by Marlins broadcaster Craig Minervini.
Especially given that the stadium already has been approved, the Marlins approach seems rather heavy-handed -- or heavy-finned.
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