BY STEVE ROTHAUS
Daniella Levine Cava has claimed victory in her race against incumbent Miami-Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell.
As of 11:31 p.m. Tuesday, Levine Cava had 52 percent of the vote; Bell had 48 percent with 77 of 83 precincts reporting, according to Miami-Dade County election results.
Bell found herself in controversy last year when she blocked an update to Miami-Dade County's human rights ordinance, which would have added protections on the basis of gender identity and expression.
"Time and again Commissioner Bell has taken the side of bigotry and discrimination," SAVE Deputy Director Maria Barth said in a news release after commission co-sponsors dropped a proposed addition to the county’s gay-rights ordinance. "Lynda Bell’s outdated and anti-family views are completely out of step with her district. Her bigoted positions have no place in our county government."
Bell struck back by calling the SAVE attack “dishonest and slanderous.”
“I am one vote on the commission, and I do not have the power to single-handedly derail any piece of legislation,” Bell said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “To indicate or suggest otherwise, based on the results of one preliminary vote is misleading at best and divisionary and inflammatory at worst.”
SAVE is still campaigning to pass the gender-identity update and the LGBT-rights group strongly supported Levine Cava.
From an email sent by late Tuesday by Levine Cava:
For eight months, you supported this campaign and worked hard to move South Dade forward.
Because of your efforts, I am proud to share that I have been elected County Commissioner for Miami-Dade in District 8.
This would not have been possible without your support and inspiration. I want to thank each and every one of you for what you did to make this campaign such a success.
There will be much to do in the coming months, and many obstacles to overcome, but together we can change Miami-Dade County for the better.
Together, we can bring the vision -and restore the integrity- that will provide real results for thousands of South Dade families.
Yours in service,