He was endorsed by the incumbent months ago, but Kionne McGhee had declined to publicly confirm he was running to succeed Commissioner Dennis Moss in Miami-Dade's District 9 next yea. On Wednesday, McGhee, a 41-year-old lawyer who was born in Naranja in South Dade, made it official and filed for what's already a crowded race.
The Democratic minority leader of the Florida House, McGhee's District 117 overlaps with the county district Moss has represented for nearly three decades. Term limits taking effect for the first time in 2020 are requiring most incumbent county commissioners to leave office over the next three years, while state term limits have required McGhee's 2020 exit from Tallahassee since he was first elected in 2012.
"I believe I have the expertise and the know how and the experience to get the job done on Day One," McGhee said in an interview. "Transportation has plagued and stifled this community in more ways than you can imagine. Affordable housing is similar in that it's causing a crisis in our South Dade community." He also pointed to small-business relief and violence reduction as priorities.
Moss endorsed McGhee in a February interview with Naked Politics, and McGhee's plan to run for the District 9 seat in South Dade was not a secret.
McGhee joins three existing candidates for the open, non-partisan seat: former county aide and school administrator Mark Coats, corporate lawyer Marlon Hill, and Johnny Farias, a member of the South Bay Community Council.
The 13-seat commission holds staggered elections every two years, with odd-numbered seats up in 2020. Five of the seven commissioners with seats up in 2020 are required to leave under term-limit rules. Two others with seats up in 2022, Daniella Levine Cava and Jean Monestime, are planning to run for county mayor next year. If they qualify for the race in the summer of 2020, that will open up their seats as well, creating seven open races for county commission.