Homestead voters will decide Tuesday whether to keep Mayor Steve Losner for a second two-year term or oust him in favor of former Council member Elvis Maldonado, who wants to slow the rapid expansion the city has experienced in recent years.
Neither cinched more than half of the vote in October, forcing a runoff. Nearly 47% of voters chose Losner. Maldonado took 36% of the vote.
Former Mayor Jeff Porter also ran, but secured just 17% of the vote.
Losner, 60, is a lawyer in private practice. More than a decade ago, he served on the City Council and is a fourth-generation Homestead resident, Miami-Dade County’s second-oldest city. A park in the city’s historic downtown bears the family’s name.
He returned to politics in 2019 to address Homestead’s “untapped potential,” from bringing more dining, retail and entertainment options to the city to building more quality housing. Since Losner took office, the city opened Homestead Station, a massive downtown shopping and entertainment complex, and active residential development. Five major developers are now vying to redevelop Homestead’s old City Hall site. The city opened a new 83,000-square-foot government building in 2016, a short walk from Homestead Station.
“Steve promised to put our residents first, and he’s delivered on that promise,” his campaign website says. “Now, he’s running for reelection to build on the progress we’ve made and continue leading a healthy Homestead.”
Maldonado, 48, is a software engineer and former CEO of Homestead-based technology solutions company The Laptop Zone. Last year, he resigned from the Commission to run for the Miami-Dade Commission, losing in a runoff to former Rep. Kionne McGhee.
His platform priorities include blocking overdevelopment, improving traffic by making every county road in the city four lanes, adding more traffic signals, keeping taxes low and the city budget in check, and supporting the Homestead Police Department.
“We’re a working-class community, and we want to make sure we still have affordability, he told the Miami Herald. “I don’t want to see any more traffic. I want to stop the growth as much as possible, but I also want to enhance our streets, our traffic here, so we can have a better quality of life.”
Losner had said that despite having served as Mayor before, Porter was “not a legitimate candidate” and was instead propped up by city employees and developers who hoped Porter would split the vote and hand Maldonado a win.
True or not, he has rubbed some fellow elected officials the wrong way. One instance prompted Vice Mayor Patricia Fairclough to file a restraining order against Losner.
Turnout in the Primary was extremely low, with just 8% of more than 35,000 registered voters casting ballots.