MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Despite a series of controversies which had threatened the re-election bid of Mayor Matti Herrera Bower, voters on the beach returned her comfortably to office Tuesday, as she beat three challengers while holding almost 60% of the vote.
Turnout was dismal, with fewer than 7 thousand voters bothering to make the trip to the polls or to cast an absentee ballot. Despite the controversy caused by Urban Beach Week and a police ATV incident on the beach, and a claim by vocal opponents that Bower was not managing the city well, voters largely ignored the race and put Bower back into office with just 4 thousand votes.
Miami Beach voter Roberta Kahana didn’t realize it was Election Day until she saw the signs outside her precinct.
“I had no idea,” said Kahana.”I’m going to call my family and my friends. I’m going to send an email to everybody to make sure they vote. This is crazy.”
Comedian and former reality show contestant Steve Berke challenged Bower and newcomers Dave Crystal and Laura Rivero Levey in the mayoral race.
Crystal is a tutor and Levey owns a public relations business.
Berke’s unusual campaign antics garnered him plenty of attention to the chagrin of his competitors. Bower is less than amused about Berke’s “whack a mayor” video game on his website.
“I don’t care if he whacks me in the head. I don’t want him to whack our residents in the head by not knowing what he’s doing,” Bower said.
There was another race on the Beach, for group VI Commissioner. Deede Weithorn was returned to office with 65% of the vote.
COMPLETE ELECTION DAY RESULTS AND COVERAGE