It’s Election Day in Miami Beach and two of the three vacant commission seats could come down to the wire – put Mayor Philip Levine down as a lock for re-election, though. The only question in that race is how much he runs up the score on challenger David Weider.
Commission Group 4 is completely up in the air. The top two in the six-way race to replace Commissioner Jonah Wolfson will head to a runoff election. Betsy Perez, a Levine ally, and Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who is aligned with the mayor’s opposition, are the most likely to finish at the top of the heap.
The real nail-biter of the day will be the Group 6 election to replace Deede Weithorn, who is leaving the commission to run for House District 114 due to term limits. Mark Samuelian has put up nearly $200,000 just from his own pocket to win the seat, but John Elizabeth Alemán –yes, a girl named John and, yes, there is a story behind it – has been doing a little spending herself recently. This one could be tight to the last ballot.
Group 5 is likely to be a snoozer by comparison. Ricky Arriola should emerge victorious in the two-way race against Mark Weithorn, the husband of the termed out Group 6 commissioner. The only question is whether Arriola takes over the seat from Commissioner Ed Tobin by a double-digit margin.
Also on the ballot is a referendum creating to increase allowable hotel and residential development in the blighted but historic Ocean Terrace district. It’s got support from homeowner’s associations, residents, activists and businesses, but it’s drawn the ire of the SAVE Miami Beach crown and could have a tough time getting the 50+1% vote it’ll take for approval.
Miami Beach voters can find their polling location and peruse a sample ballot on the city’s website. Results should start rolling in around 7 p.m.