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Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III holds narrow lead in District 1 Miami-Dade County Commission contest

The contest decides a successor for term-limited County Commissioner Barbara Jordan.

Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III edged out Sybrina Fulton in the Miami-Dade County Commission District 1 contest, according to vote totals reported Tuesday night.

Fulton ran for the seat after losing her son, Trayvon Martin, was killed in a 2012 shooting.

According to Tuesday’s unofficial results, Gilbert led Fulton by a 50.49%-49.51% margin. Gilbert bested Fulton by just 331 votes out of more than 34,000 cast.

Through 2019, Gilbert appeared to be dominating the fundraising contest. That changed after Fulton earned endorsements from former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, as well as U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren.

That national attention allowed Fulton to stay competitive with Gilbert’s operation. Clinton, who also formerly served as Secretary of State and First Lady, also held a late-May virtual fundraiser for Fulton’s bid.

The event was also moderated by Ruth’s List Florida President and CEO Pamela Goodman. Ruth’s List Florida backed Fulton as well.

County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who is term-limited out of the District 1 seat, endorsed Gilbert. The Miami Herald and Miami Times endorsed Gilbert as well.

Jordan has served as County Commissioner in District 1 since 2004.

Fulton, a native of Miami Gardens and a graduate of Florida Memorial University, formed the Trayvon Martin Foundation after her son’s death and has become a leading advocate against gun violence.

“If you wrote a book about Sybrina Fulton, you can’t leave out chapter 5 where I lost my son. That’s a part of me,” Fulton said in 2019. “But the most important thing to me is what I did after chapter 5.”

Her campaign page listed improving Miami-Dade’s pubic transportation, economic opportunity, and affordable housing as her main priorities. Fulton supports the SMART plan to improve transit corridors in the county.

Gilbert’s campaign also listed transportation as its top priority and mentions his record creating the Miami Gardens Express Trolley. Gilbert wants to expand economic growth and investment in small businesses in Miami-Dade County, and he said he would like to expand programs to preserve Miami’s parks and other public spaces if he’s elected.

Gilbert, a graduate of Florida A&M University and the University of Miami School of Law, was appointed to the Miami Gardens City Council in 2008 and served there until elected Mayor in 2012. He’s barred from seeking another term as Mayor due to term limits.

St. Thomas University hired Gilbert to run its newly launched Center for Pandemic, Disaster, and Quarantine (PDQ) Research in late July.

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