By Jessica Sanchez and Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporters
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – On Tuesday, November 19th, Miami Beach voters decided on three City Commission races out of six candidates, after the November 5th General Election without an outright winner sent Miami Beach voters back to the polls for a Run-Off Election.
In the Group 4 Commissioner race, after a close contest, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez was defeated in the runoff against first-time candidate Steven Meiner by a margin of 4,427 votes to 3,798 based on unofficial results.
First time candidate Meiner, who qualified for his place in the runoff by only two votes on Election Day and beat Michael Barrineau after a recount, was endorsed by Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
Meiner will be sworn into office during Monday’s commission meeting, along with the other two winning candidates. He told the Miami Herald he wishes his first day would come sooner. “I’ve been working toward this moment my whole life,” he said. “I’m ready to get to work.”
In Group 5 the top financed candidate Ricky Arriola easily won the Group 5 Commissioner seat with 4,578 votes against Raquel Pacheco who had 3,343. Arriola nearly won the race outright earlier this month, earning 45 percent of the vote.
The incumbent Commissioner and Vice Mayor Arriola raised nearly $230,000 for the race, and held off first-time candidate Raquel Pacheco. “I look forward to moving the city forward, continuing the work of the last four years,” he said.
Lastly, In Group 6 former Florida lawmaker David Richardson with a strong lead over Adrian Gonzalez, also won by a wide margin with a total of 4,677 votes, while Gonzales had a total of 3,394 votes. Richardson was endorsed by outgoing Group 6 Commissioner John Alemán to be her successor.
“I’m incredibly grateful to all of you who have supported me along this journey,” Richardson said in a statement. “Whether you’ve donated, volunteered, or shared your thoughts, you have been the backbone of this campaign.”
Mayor Dan Gelber shared this morning, “Congratulations to reelected Commissioner Ricky Arriola, and new Commissioners-Elect Steven Meiner and David Richardson. I look forward to serving with you.”
Adding, “And thanks to all the candidates who participated in this election. It’s not easy to run for public office but democracy works best when citizens hold themselves out for service to their community.”
Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian shared on social media last night, “Congratulations to all the candidates for offering to serve and working so hard. Excited to get to work with Ricky Arriola, Steven Meiner and David Richardson for the betterment of our community.”