House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee is advancing to a runoff against Homestead City Council member Elvis Maldonado for the District 9 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.
McGhee was competing against pastor Mark Coats, South Bay Community Council member Johnny Farias and attorney Marlon Hill. No candidate received a majority of the vote Tuesday.
According to Tuesday’s unofficial results, McGhee earned 37% support, followed by Maldonado at 23% and Hill at 22%. Farias was in fourth at 11%, followed by Coats at 7%.
McGhee won the endorsement of outgoing Commissioner Dennis Moss. He also was chosen as the favored candidate by many local unions.
AFSCME Florida, SEIU Florida and the South Florida AFL-CIO all backed McGhee’s bid, penning letters of support praising his track record on worker issues and his vision for the community’s — and the state’s — future.
Moss, meanwhile, has endorsed McGhee because he believed he would be a consensus-builder on the commission.
McGhee listed affordable housing and transportation as his main issues, and he also ran on small business relief and reducing violence.
McGhee was first elected to represent Florida House District 117 in 2012, and he was term-limited out of that district this election season. The district includes central parts of Miami-Dade County, stretching from Richmond Heights to Florida City.
District 9 is the largest district in Miami-Dade by land, and substantially overlaps with the House seat McGhee has held for the past eight years.
Maldonado, a graduate of Florida Computer and Business College, has lived in Homestead since age 5 and has been a member of the Homestead City Council since 2009.
Hill, a partner at the law firm of Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, mounted a spirited campaign in his first foray into politics, and he proved a prolific fundraiser.
Hill and McGhee outraised their fellow competitors for the seat.
Coats served as chief of staff to City Commissioner Victor De Yurre and later served as a special assistant to Alex Penelas when he was Miami-Dade County Mayor.
Farias, an electrician by trade, is a Navy veteran who holds an associate’s degree from Miami Dade College. He served as a sonar technician during his six-year enlistment in the Navy.