New Gables mayor elected

Courtesy Jim Cason Campaign
Courtesy Jim Cason Campaign

The doors of Coral Gables City Hall will be opening Friday for newly elected mayor Jim Cason.

Cason, the former diplomat who has worked on more than 19 different diplomatic missions, raised $97,560. His opponents, Tom Korge and long-time incumbent Don Slesnick raised $149,065 and $193,810, respectively.

Cason, 66, will embark on his two-year term Friday.

Cason collected more than 39 percent of the vote, while Slesnick gathered 35 percent and Korge got 27 percent.

“I think I won because I worked hard,” Cason said to The Miami Herald. “We didn’t have any money so we had to talk to residents.”

Cason, who is known for his plan to change the city’s system of obtaining permits to build and remodel, has lived in Coral Gables since 2009. Prior to moving to the City Beautiful, Cason served as head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba. Cason is a republican who was a strong leader in the anti-Castro movement.

“I had name recognition among the Latins,” Cason said to The Miami Herald. “But I had to gain a lot of Anglo votes.”

Some residents are not sure Cason will be the leader that Coral Gables needs.

“Being a diplomat is not much like running a city,” said Cary Benavides, who has been a resident of Coral Gables for 27 years.

Attorney Frank Quesada, 31, and incumbent William “Bill” Kerdyk Jr., 51, won the race for Commissioner Seats 4 and 5, respectively.

Despite many students’ apathy in local elections, some have shown interest in the election and its outcome.

“Unfortunately, the incumbent lost but I think his repeated interest and relationship with the students and SG will help raise the profile of the relationship of the city and UM for many years to come,” former SG Vice President Pietro Bortoletto said.

Cason’s campaign colors were hues of orange and green identical to UM’s school colors.

Stephanie Parra may be contacted at