The five Miami-Dade commissioners seeking another four-year term were reelected Tuesday night, reasserting the power of incumbency in a summer that began with an upset win by a political newcomer.
Incumbents looked more vulnerable in June after first-time candidate Eileen Higgins beat establishment favorites for an open seat on the 13-member commission, but Tuesday’s results showed sitting commissioners cruising to victory in their bids to hold office for another four years. With close to 85 percent of the county’s precincts reporting results, commissioners Daniella Levine Cava, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Jean Monestime, Rebeca Sosa and Javier Souto each beat their nearest competitors by a spread of somewhere between 30 and 55 percentage points.
Each ran separately in their districts for a 13-seat board that staggers its nonpartisan August primaries every two years. Each incumbent won more than the 50 percent share of the vote needed to end the election after the primary, rather than face a November runoff. Along with dispatching challengers, some of the wins marked defeats for some significant players in local politics.
American Dream Miami, the mega-mall planned for Northwest Miami-Dade, bankrolled the campaign by Gus Barreiro, a former Republican state lawmaker, against Levine Cava. Levine Cava was the lone commissioner to vote against the $4 billion project in May. Donors tied to American Dream, a top donor in other county elections, gave Barreiro about $109,000 of the $133,000 he raised for the race.
The well-funded challenge wasn’t enough to threaten Levine Cava, who took about 62 percent of the vote to win her second term representing South Dade’s District 8. Barreiro took just under 22 percent of the vote, and the third candidate, Johnathan Burke, won roughly 17 percent.
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