Survey shows Kionne McGhee leading in Miami-Dade Commission runoff
House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee

State Rep. Kionne McGhee
McGhee is topping his runoff opponent, Elvis Maldonado.

A new survey shows House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee leading the runoff race for the District 9 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

The poll, conducted by Change Research, shows McGhee receiving 37% of the vote as compared with just 22% for Homestead City Council member Elvis Maldonado. The remaining 41% of District 9 voters were undecided.

Those results nearly mirror the final numbers in the Aug. 18 Primary Election, when McGhee and Maldonado secured the top two runoff spots. McGhee earned 37% in that race compared with 23% for Maldonado. Lawyer Marlon Hill placed third in the five-person contest, followed by South Bay Community Council member Johnny Farias and pastor Mark Coats.

The new survey was commissioned by a Democratically aligned group in South Florida. McGhee is the outgoing House Democratic Leader coming off a 2018 cycle where Democrats flipped an impressive seven House seats to give Democrats 47 seats overall. That’s their largest House caucus since 1998.

McGhee is facing term limits after serving eight years in the House. He’s seeking to return to his home base of South Dade, where he has strong ties. Maldonado has served on the Homestead City Council since 2009. He is a graduate of Florida Computer and Business College.

McGhee already secured an endorsement from outgoing District 9 Commissioner Dennis Moss. Several unions such as the AFSCME FloridaSEIU Florida and the South Florida AFL-CIO all backed McGhee as well.

McGhee won the House District 117 seat in 2012. That district spans parts of Miami-Dade County such as Richmond Heights and Florida City.

Voters in the Change Research survey also gave McGhee higher approval ratings. He had a +26 approval rating as opposed to just +10 for Maldonado.

Undecideds did lean slightly toward Maldonado, though most reaffirmed they were unsure. Only 8% said they would pick Maldonado if forced to choose, while 6% would select McGhee. A whopping 82% said they weren’t sure, while 5% said they would not vote for either if forced to choose.

After hearing some information about each opponent, McGhee’s lead increased.

Regarding McGhee, voters were told he “is the House Democratic Leader and state representative for the area. His supporters say Kionne has been a fierce advocate for public schools, fought for Metrorail for South Dade, and took on gun violence. His opponents say that he is deeply tied to special interests and is just another career politician looking to advance their personal agenda.”

Of Maldonado, pollsters told voters he “is a Homestead City Council member. His supporters say that he is a fresh voice for South Dade and will focus on transportation solutions, affordable housing, and veteran affairs. His opponents say that he lacks the experience to take on the big challenge of the county and has used his city services for personal use, including the city’s tax-funded car to go play golf.”

After pushing out that information, McGhee received 49% of the vote compared to 25% for Maldonado. The remaining 25% remained unsure.

The survey has a margin of error of 5.8 percentage points.

The two will face off in the General Election on Nov. 3.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].

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    September 9, 2020 at 2:27 pm


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