Earlier this year, Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez resigned in order to run for Congress. Now that Rosen Gonzalez is out of the race, however, some residents are asking city officials to put the commissioner back in office.
It’s an unusual situation created by a recently expanded resign-to-run law that forced Rosen Gonzalez to choose between her city post and a long-shot congressional bid. Rosen Gonzalez submitted her resignation in April, after losing a lawsuit to block the state from applying the law to her candidacy, but she doesn’t officially step down until Jan. 3. She is now out of the congressional race for the seat vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen after finishing third in the August Democratic primary.
Rosen Gonzalez’s resignation leaves the Miami Beach commission with two options: appoint a replacement or hold a special election to let the voters decide on an interim commissioner. The new commissioner would serve the remainder of Rosen Gonzalez’s four-year term, which ends in November 2019.
Although the City Commission can’t vote on a replacement until January, some Miami Beach residents have already started campaigning for a third option: Allow Rosen Gonzalez to stay in office.
At least one neighborhood group, the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association in South Beach, passed a resolution last week urging the commission to reappoint Rosen Gonzalez to her soon-to-be vacant seat. A number of politically influential Beach residents, including former Mayor Matti Bower and longtime activist Frank Del Vecchio, are also advocating for the reappointment.
Pollsters have been calling Beach residents this week to ask their opinions on a possible reappointment, along with a host of other questions about city issues. It’s unclear who is paying for the polling, but Rosen Gonzalez insists that it isn’t her.