New knee for Joe Martinez — and a new PAC, too

Every day now, Ladra hears the same ol’ thing, like an echo: “Joe Martinez is going to file today.”

The rumor going around for weeks now is that Martinez, the former Miami-Dade County joezapCommission chairman who lost a mayoral bid in 2012, is going to run against Commissioner Juan Zapata for his old seat. Las malas lenguas say Mayor Carlos Gimenez is tired of Zapata’s critical mouth on the dais and has encouraged Martinez in an effort to get rid of Zap. Martinez has reportedly said yes, he’ll do it, but only if Gimenez can get $300,000 for his campaign.

The Chairman, as he likes to be called, would not confirm any of these things about Gimenez and the warchest, though he has said for weeks that he is seriously considering a run for his old seat in District 11. Of course, he was also at one point reportedly considering a run for county clerk and a run for sheriff, if that position ever becomes available.

Read related story: Joe Martinez mulls county challenge to Juan Zapata

But last week he went so far as to open a new political action committee. You know, so Gimenez has a place to send the mulah. Together for a Brighter Future opened on Friday the 13th. It lists Zaray Cabrera, a Miami Springs CPA, as the chair and treasurer. The paperwork states it will be advocating in a Miami-Dade commission race and Martinez told Ladra that it is his.

He also said this week that a little ol’ thing like total knee replacement surgery JoeMartinezkneewas not going to stop him, even if it does make knocking on voters’ doors a little more difficult.

“Yes, but not impossible,” Martinez responded to a text message I sent him this week, with a photo of his stretched out leg and ouch!

“Additionally, many people know me. [I’d be more like] reintroducing myself,” he wrote.

When I told him that people keep saying, every day, he was going to be appearing at the elections department “this morning” or “this afternoon,”  he answered with one word: “Soon.”

Then, in the next breath, he says he is still “exploring the landscape.”

UPDATE: Two hours and 20 minutes later, el muy sin verguenza filed papers to run. Why all the cloak and dagger stuff, Joe?

Zapata already has one challenger, Felix Lorenzo, who loaned himself $2,000 and doesn’t seem like much of a threat. Zap raised $135,000 and still had a little more than $100,000 at the end of April.

Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Dennis Moss, who are also up for re-election this year, have each drawn opponents as well (more on those races later).