By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber was reelected to a second term after no candidates filed to challenge him by the Friday, September 6th deadline. Two other candidates had filed papers to raise money in the mayoral race, but neither were able to move forward.
The qualifying period for the Miami Beach elections ran from Tuesday, September 3rd to Friday, September 6th. The other candidates would have been Konstantinos Gus Manessis, who dropped out on August 28th, and Samantha Salgado, a former Miami Beach lobbyist who who failed to qualify on Friday.
Mayor Gelber is a Miami Beach native and a Democrat who was first elected in 2017. He succeeded Philip Levine, who then ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2018.
“I am grateful to all those that have been supportive of my candidacy and honored to have the confidence of my community,” Gelber said in a Friday statement. “I am also grateful to my family for without their support and sacrifice I would never be able to serve,” he added.
“Being Mayor of my hometown has been my great honor and it is not a trust I take for granted.” Gerber continued. “I will continue to work every day to make our community the special place we love.”
Gelber is a former House lawmaker who served 2000-10, including a stint as Democratic Leader. The Miami Beach native also ran for Attorney General in 2010, losing out to Republican Pam Bondi. He lives with wife Joan Silverstein and their three children in Miami Beach.
Three other races in Miami Beach could be close, with each having four candidates. The only other incumbent running for re-election is Commissioner Ricky Arriola in a race for the Group 5 seat.
In the race for the Group 4 seat, former Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez is running for her old seat. She’s competing against Rafael Velasquez, a Democratic activist and real estate broker whom she accused of sexual harassment in 2017. Velasquez said the claim was made up and has filed a defamation lawsuit against Rosen Gonzalez.
Miami Beach general and special elections are on November 5th, with registration closing on October 7th, and if needed a run-off election is scheduled for November 19th.