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Miami Beach commissioner decides against run for county commission


@joeflech and @doug_hanks

Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Góngora will not run for the open seat on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.

The District 5 seat, left open after Bruno Barreiro resigned March 31 to run for Congress, is up for grabs after the Miami-Dade commission decided to call a special election for May 22 to replace Barreiro. Barreiro, a Republican, is running for the the District 27 seat in Congress, the seat Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is leaving when she retires this year.

Góngora flirted with a run for the Miami-Dade commission, and he had until the end of Saturday to file to run, but he made the call Wednesday.

"I'm staying put," he told the Miami Herald.

He had been waiting on the results of some polling to gauge his chances. He said on Wednesday he hasn't received results, but he made his decision after hearing from voters who ushered him onto the Miami Beach City Commission in November.

"I did some soul searching, and I decided to stay here and finish the job I was elected to do," he said. "The county seat wasn’t in my plans for 2018, and I decided not let someone else’s decision impact my decision and life. And my voters and supporters have reached out in the dozens asking me to stay."

Three candidates have entered the sprint for the county commission post.

Zoraida Barreiro, wife of the former commissioner, has filed to run. So have Eileen Higgins, president of Miami's Downtown Dems, and Carlos Martinez Garin, who lists income as an Uber driver and art and acting teacher.

Former state senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla said he was interested, but has not filed.

Because of a recently-enacted resign-to-run law, Barreiro was forced to step down in order to campaign for the Congressional seat. But even though the law was crafted in a way that would've allowed Barreiro to make delay his effective date through the fall, the commissioner stepped down early. He denied resigning early in order to give his wife an advantage amid a tight timeline in the run up to a May special election, saying his Congressional campaign has to be a priority as he eyes the Republican nomination ahead of the August primary.