Homestead voters re-elect 2 incumbents, send 2 new Council members to City Hall

Homestead City Hall
Homestead has 35,584 eligible and active voters. Less than 10% of them voted Tuesday.

Two incumbents will remain on the Homestead Council for another four years alongside a pair of new members following the city’s General Election Tuesday.

With all 18 precincts reporting at 8:50 p.m., Council members Sean Fletcher and Larry Roth defeated a challenger apiece to win re-election to Seats 2 and 3.

Fletcher defeated former Homestead administrator Ana San Roman with 63% of the vote. Roth beat former Homestead Police Cpt. William “Bobby” Rea with a 52% share of nearly 3,100 ballots cast on and before Election Day.

Meanwhile, in the race for Seat 1, veteran and private school government teacher Thomas Davis outpaced local activist Amy Spadaro and former Miami-Dade County Parks marina manager James “Jim” Wyatt in a winner-takes-all Special Election with 38% of the vote. Wyatt took 33% of the vote, while Spadaro received the remainder.

Davis will replace Vice Mayor Julio Guzman, who is leaving office after an unsuccessful run for Mayor, through 2025.

For Seat 6, physician-turned-entrepreneur Clemente Canabal won a runoff with nearly 52% of the vote to beat education professional Toshiba Mitchell and replace outgoing Council member Patricia Fairclough-Staggers.

While those running differed in how they’d address Homestead’s issues, almost all agree on what those issues were: too much construction incongruent with the area and the added traffic it creates.

Election Day came just over a month after city voters re-elected Mayor Steven Losner for a third term and whittled down a four-person contest for Seat 6 race to just Canabal and Mitchell.

Homestead has 35,584 eligible and active voters, according to the city’s website.

The winners Tuesday will join Losner and Council members Erica Ávila and Jennifer Bailey on the seven-seat governing body.

Council Seat 1 — Northwest District

A native Miamian who has lived in Homestead since 2000, Davis served for decades with the U.S. Armed Forces before retiring from his final posting at Homestead Air Reserve Base in 1993.

He returned to service in 2008 for deployment in Afghanistan, where he commanded a joint detachment of Air Force and Marine Corps journalists.

That tour earned him a Bronze Star Medal. His last deployment was in 2015, when he served as chief of strategic communication planning at the NATO headquarters in Kabul.

Thomas Davis said he enjoys getting tough things done. Image via Thomas Davis.

Davis is a longtime board member of the Community Partnership for Homeless and Health Foundation of South Florida. He’s also volunteered for nearly two decades with U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart’s Office screening military service academy applicants.

On his campaign website, Davis promised to stand up to overdevelopment and “unchecked sprawl,” hire more police officers and provide them with added resources, and expand parks and greenspaces in the city.

“This is a beautiful city that we live in. It’s a wonderful place, and it’s time for us to be looking 20 years, 50 years in the future to say, ‘Where do we want to be? How do we want to do it?’” he said in a September interview with Eyes on Homestead. “I enjoy getting these tough things done. I enjoy being involved in our community.”

Through Oct. 20, the last date for which campaign finance data was available a week from Election Day, he had raised about $7,000.

Some funds came from big-name local donors including Losner, who endorsed him, and former Miami-Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell. Davis also received contributions from a few lobbying firms and real estate businesses.

James “Jim” Wyatt promised to vote against “all irresponsible development projects.” Image via James Wyatt.

Wyatt, who also flew helicopters for the county’s Mosquito Control Division, described himself as a “true Homesteader” with “unparalleled 60 years of devoted service” to the community.

He vowed to “vote against all irresponsible development projects that threaten our well-being and negatively impact our quality of life” while collaborating with state and county officials to tackle the city’s traffic problems.

Balancing the city budget, preventing tax hikes and creating more parks and greenspaces “when possible” and historic preservation were also priorities.

“We can strike a balance between modernization and historical preservation, and we should consider designating historical districts, promoting cultural (innovations), improving infrastructure sensibly (and) fostering historical tourism and small businesses,” he told Eyes on Homestead.

Wyatt’s campaign raised about $15,500 through 29 personal checks, 13 business donations — including the local Algers Farm and Homestead-Miami Speedway — and a $2,500 self-loan.

Amy Spadaro said she believes development in Homestead is OK as long as it doesn’t clash with the city’s “small town charm.” Image via Amy Spardo.

Spadaro, who has lived in Homestead nearly 30 years, is a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

She prioritized improving traffic, public safety and infrastructure and told Eyes on Homestead that development in the city is “doable” while still maintaining the city’s “small-town charm.”

Her filings with the city show she raised close to $16,500, inclusive of $10,300 in self-loans and contributions from fewer than 10 people and five businesses.

Council Seat 2 — Keys Gate

Fletcher is a former reserve police sergeant and trustee of the Police Officer Pension Board. He now works as a security manager for Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) Turkey Point power plant.

In the race for Seat 2, he held a marked edge in funding due to ample contributions from real estate and construction companies.

Sean Fletcher believed Homestead could do a better job attracting businesses to the area, including more dining and entertainment options for residents. Image via Homestead.

Going into Election Day, he was seeking a second four-year term in his second stint on the Council. He was also a member from 1999-2000. In 2019, close to 58% of voters opted to send him back to City Hall.

Among other things, Fletcher wanted to improve how Homestead markets itself as a headquarters for businesses if re-elected.

“It’s extremely key that we start focusing on that and ensuring we’re bringing in those right commercial developments that help us sustain the city,” he told Eyes on Homestead.

He raised $43,000 through his campaign account, mostly from developers, real estate management companies and related businesses.

New Leadership Network, a political committee that received hundreds of thousands from Florida racing interests and tens of thousands from FPL, donated to him as well. Its Chair, lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez, kicked in $1,000 too.

Fletcher also loaned himself $500.

Ana San Roman knows a lot about how Homestead City Hall works. Image Ana San Roman.

San Roman, who worked at Homestead City Hall for more than two decades, raised less than $5,000. All came through personal checks. More than half were from donors outside the city.

Her campaign website said she advocated for sustainable and balanced development, mitigating traffic congestion, addressing infrastructure needs, boosting public safety, improving municipal services, adding family-oriented venues, revitalizing the city’s downtown area and helping the agricultural industry.

“We all have similar hopes for our city, and while we cannot stop growth and development, we can make it sustainable and balanced where we can thrive, raise a family, and be proud of our home,” she said.

Council Seat 3 — The Villages

Roth, a real estate sales associate in private life, was the far better funded Seat 3 candidate ahead of Tuesday’s election. He raised more than $53,000 to hold onto the seat he won in 2015 and successfully defended in 2019.

Those gains came overwhelmingly from South Florida real estate and construction businesses and professionals.

A real estate professional in private life, Larry Roth also founded a youth-focused nonprofit. Image via Homestead.

Roth has served as a board member of the South Dade Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Homestead YMCA, Homestead Women’s Club and is the founding President of nonprofit This Is For the Kids Inc.

Rea, meanwhile, amassed about $8,500 through 30 or so personal checks — including one for $750 from Losner and several from other current and former cops — and a few local businesses.

The South Florida AFL-CIO donated to him too.

A repeat candidate for the City Council, Rea sued the city in 2014 alleging violations of public records laws. The city later settled the case and paid him $200,000, a sum he said he would have earned had he continued to work until retirement.

He’d been a city cop for 25 years.

William “Bobby” Rea served Homestead as a police officer, sued the city and won, and now wants to serve it again from the Council dais. Image via William “Bobby” Rea.

Rea vowed to cut down on “unchecked development by large-scale home builders” that “leaves our residents holding the bag while other people get rich.” He said traffic congestion due to those developments is another major issue, as is crime.

“These poorly governed developers hurt our community and they hurt the smaller, responsible builders who live and work with us,” he said on his website. “I can no longer sit idly by and watch as the problems we face grow larger and get worse.”

Council Seat 6 — Oasis

Canabal and Mitchell outpaced two other candidates in the city’s Primary Election last month, but neither secured a large enough percentage of the vote to win outright.

The uncertainty ended Tuesday.

Canabal, who is married to Doral Republican Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, promised if elected to tackle traffic congestion, increase police funding, boost code enforcement and penalties for illegal dumping, expand housing affordability, create high-paying local jobs and advocate for sustainable growth initiatives.

Internist-turned entrepreneur Clemente Canabal enjoyed support from several Florida GOP leaders. Image via Clemente Canabal.

Through Oct. 20, his campaign account received $92,000 in donations. A sizable portion came from heavy hitters in the Florida GOP, including Senate Majority Leader Ben Albritton, House Speaker-designate Daniel Perez, Sens. Bryan Ávila and Jim Boyd, Reps. Jay Trumbull, Joe Gruters and Alex Rizo, Miami-Dade Commissioners Kevin Marino Cabrera and Anthony Rodriguez, Miami-Dade Clerk Juan Fernandez-Barquin, and former Reps. Vance Aloupis and Jose Félix Díaz.

Several real estate companies gave too.

He carried endorsements from Losner, former Council member Judy Waldman and Miami’s Community Newspapers.

Toshiba Mitchell wanted to pause development in the city. Image via Toshiba Mitchell.

Mitchell, who works as the learning and development manager at The Mission Continues, a veterans-focused community service organization, won endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police and Homestead Police Department.

Her campaign raised $38,000, roughly half of which came from real estate businesses.

In a phone interview with Florida Politics last month, she said addressing traffic congestion, pausing development in the city and improving infrastructure are among her priorities.

“Of course, my biggest is community engagement,” she said. “I know that’s what leads to races like mine … and I want to make sure these opportunities are afforded to all residents.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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