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Candidate qualifies by petition to run for Miami Beach mayor

@cveiga

Miami Beach mayoral candidate Philip Levine has qualified to run for office by way of voter petition.

Levine -- a wealthy, self-made business man -- collected almost 1,500 certified petitions to earn a spot on the ballot. Most candidates simply pay a $1,300 qualifying fee to run for mayor.

The mayor's race in Miami Beach is wide open this year, with current Mayor Matti Herrera Bower term-limited.

Levine is running for the $10,000-a-year position, along with current Commissioner Michael Góngora and entertainer Steve Berke

Berke, who wants to make a documentary based on Miami Beach politics, has accused Levine of trying to buy the election. Levine has loaned himself $410,000 for his campaign, according to his most recent financial reports. 

A press release announcing Levine's petition drive took aim at Berke's accusation.  

"Opponents' claims of Levine attempting to buy this election have now been proven to be false. The voter signatures were collected without the use of paid workers. In fact, Levine personally collected over 85% of the signatures himself," the release said.

The qualifying period in Miami Beach doesn't start until Sept. 3 and lasts through Sept. 6.

--CHRISTINA VEIGA

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