Unopposed Oliver Gilbert, Eileen Higgins, Kionne McGhee keep Miami-Dade Commission seats

Oliver Gilbert Eileen Higgins Kionne McGhee
4 other seats on the 13-member board are still up for grabs.

Miami-Dade Commissioners Oliver Gilbert, Eileen Higgins and Kionne McGhee each won four more years at County Hall after no one filed to run against them.

They were automatically re-elected at noon on Tuesday.

Gilbert, a lawyer who chairs the 13-member board, won his seat representing District 1 in 2020. He previously served as the longtime Mayor of Miami Gardens, Florida’s most populous majority Black city.

Since filing for re-election in January, Gilbert has raised more than $360,000. He spent almost $106,000 by May 31, when he had almost $1.77 million remaining in his political committee, Common Voices.

Higgins campaigned for longer and raised much more. First elected to the county dais in 2018, she stacked more than $570,000 to defend her District 5 seat since filing for re-election last July.

She also spent close to $200,000. Much of it went to political contributions and various consulting services. She had $570,000 left in her political committee, Rebranding Politics, by June.

McGhee, a former House Minority Leader elected to the County Commission’s District 9 seat in 2020, filed for re-election in November 2021. Since then, he amassed more than $1.16 million, including $250,000 in April and May alone.

He has spent about $202,000 since late 2021 for various consulting, advertising and political donation purposes. As of May 31, he had $1.14 million left in his political committee, 1 South Dade.

Four other Miami-Dade Commission seats are up for grabs this year.

In District 3, Commissioner Keon Hardemon faces challenges from former Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and construction executive Marion Brown.

A race for District 7 features a rematch four years in the making between Commissioner Raquel Regalado and former Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, whom she defeated in 2020. Miami-Dade Public Schools police officer Richard Prashnik, who serves on the Community Council Zoning Appeals Board, hopes to play spoiler to his two better-funded opponents in the race.

In District 11, Commissioner Rob Gonzalez is running to keep the seat to which Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him in late 2022. High school teacher and former West Kendall Democratic Club President Bryan Paz-Hernandez, an experienced political and nonprofit worker, and elementary school teacher Claudia Rainville are running to unseat him.

And in District 13, former state Senator and current Miami-Dade Commissioner René García faces Ian Anthony Medina, who previously mounted congressional runs in Florida, Georgia and New York.

The Miami-Dade Commission is a technically nonpartisan body as are its elections, meaning all candidates in a race will face one another in the Aug. 20 Primary. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the two candidates with the most votes will square off in the Nov. 5 General Election.

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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