The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners will consider seven candidates to replace former Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. Commissioners are scheduled to vote Monday to appoint a new commissioner from that field to a term ending in 2022.
Candidates faced a noon deadline Thursday to submit their applications.
The field includes four candidates who had launched official bids for the seat months ago, after Levine Cava campaigned to be the county’s next Mayor: activist Alicia Arellano, medical practitioner Leonarda Duran Buike, Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor John DuBois and lawyer Danielle Cohen Higgins.
The remaining three candidates who applied for the position before Thursday’s deadline are former Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell and former Sens. Frank Artiles and Dwight Bullard.
Artiles’ appearance on the list is likely to create controversy. Artiles resigned from the Senate in 2017 after using a racial slur and other derogatory language at the Governor’s Club. Now, he’s seeking a return to political office.
Bullard served four years in the House before serving another four years in the Senate. He now works as the political director for New Florida Majority.
Bell is the former Mayor of Cutler Bay, which is located, in part, within District 8’s boundaries.
Commissioners can also consider the four applicants who had already declared as candidates for the 2022 race, when the seat was next scheduled to be open. In fact, the Commission had debated whether to limit their selection to that field of four. On Tuesday, the body decided to open up the field, but those who backed the limit may still lean toward those four.
One of those candidates, Vice Mayor DuBois, had previously withdrawn consideration for the appointment, as he disagreed with the decision to forgo a Special Election. The Commission opted against holding such an election, citing the cost to the county.
But Thursday, DuBois partially reversed his position. According to Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald, DuBois is asking the Commission to delay its vote and instead put out a survey to the three mayors inside the district and ask for their opinion. DuBois argued the winner of that informal survey — which would be open for a week — should earn the appointment.
That weeklong process would push back the Dec. 7 vote. DuBois issued a statement with a curious analogy, seeking to dissuade commissioners from going ahead with the vote as scheduled.
“Dec. 7 is a date referred by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 as ‘a date that will live in infamy,'” DuBois said, citing the attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed more than 2,400 Americans. “Let’s not allow Dec. 7 to repeat itself in 2020.”
Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press had shown interest in the seat, but ultimately did not apply by Thursday’s deadline. The appointee will represent the district until the 2022 election.