MIAMI – (CBSMiami) – Former Miami-Dade commissioner Carlos Gimenez may have finished second to Julio Robaina in last month’s Miami-Dade Mayoral election, but Friday he picked up a key endorsement from the man who finished number 3.

Attorney Marcelo Llorente won 15% of the vote in the May 24th special election, not not enough to make it to this month’s runoff, but enough to keep Robaina from winning the Mayor’s race outright in May. With Friday’s endorsement of Gimenez, who faces Robaina in the runoff, it’s clear the former commissioner is hoping Llorente voters looking for a new candidate might consider him.

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“I am honored to have earned Marcelo’s confidence,” said Gimenez in a statement. “He is a man of principle who knows and cares deeply about our community. I was impressed by the vigorous and honorable campaign Marcelo ran. I have a great deal of respect for him.”

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“Carlos Gimenez has the knowledge and leadership needed to reform county government,” Llorente said.  “I urge all those who supported me to join me in supporting Carlos Gimenez for Mayor of Miami-Dade County.”

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Robaina, the former mayor of Hialeah, and Gimenez are locked in an increasingly bitter campaign for the top elected post in Miami-Dade. Early voting starts in just over 2 weeks, and the winner in the runoff will take over as Miami-Dade’s strong mayor until the November 2012 election.