LGBTQ Advocacy Groups At Odds In Miami-Dade Elections

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With elections a week away in Miami-Dade County, voters are getting mixed signals from LGBTQ political advocacy groups.

The LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and SAVE are at odds in two high profile races. 

Miami Beach mayoral candidate Michael Gongora and Miami commissioner candidate Damian Pardo earned Victory Fund endorsements in their respective municipal campaigns. 

According to its mission statement, the Victory Fund works to elect out LGBTQ candidates at all levels of government, while ensuring their endorsements reflect the diversity of their constituents. 

Pardo, campaigning for Miami’s District 2 seat, is a banker and longtime community activist. If elected, he would become the first ever out LGBT Miami commissioner.

Pardo, who is also endorsed by the Miami Herald, welcomed the Victory Fund’s seal of approval. 

“An organization truly committed to the advancement of the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.

Gongora, an attorney and former three-time Miami Beach commissioner, was endorsed by the Victory Fund in April. He is one of four candidates in the race for Miami Beach mayor.

Meanwhile, SAVE, the local LGBT advocacy organization that Pardo helped launch in 1993, snubbed both gay men and endorsed their straight opponents instead. SAVE’s action pac endorsed former state Rep. Michael Greico for Miami Beach mayor and incumbent commissioner Sabina Covo for Miami’s District 2 seat. 

Pardo said SAVE’s non-endorsement was indicative of the political games that are corrupting Miami and harming residents’ quality of life.

“The organization I founded has changed, and that is a true shame,” he said.

Outgoing SAVE Executive Director Orlando Gonzales said endorsements are determined by a panel, but declined to disclose panel members’ identities. 

“This decision was not easy for us,” Gonzales said, adding that no candidate is given a “free pass” based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“The integrity of the process is most important,” Gonzales said. “Nothing here is automatic.”

Voters in Miami-Dade County go to the polls on Nov. 7. If needed, a runoff election is slated for Nov. 21.


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