By Hank Tester

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The Miami Beach mayoral race lost one of its high-profile candidates after commissioner Michael Grieco dropped out of the race Monday afternoon.

In a statement read to reporters, he said, “Rather than subject myself and family and voters of Miami Beach to unrelenting mudslinging in the 2017 race here in Miami Beach, I have decided to seek re-election as commissioner in District 2.”

Stung by accusations and an extensive Miami Herald investigation that a political action committee he denied ties to, in fact, was supporting him, Grieco tossed in the towel.

“This year’s proven to be exceptionally challenging for me, my family and the community, forcing all of us to deal with disinformation and political attacks that have no purpose but to cloud my service to the people of Miami Beach.”

Grieco was expected to face Dan Gelber at the polls in November. Gelber is a former state legislator and federal prosecutor with some name recognition. His father, Seymour Gelber, was Beach mayor in the 1990’s.

Gelber issued the following statement about Grieco’s decision to drop out of the mayor’s race:

“Nothing changes for us as our campaign continues to work hard every day to earn the trust and support of Miami Beach residents.”

Grieco is a former state prosecutor, current criminal defense attorney and current commissioner. He said Monday he’ll turn his attention now to running for a second term as commissioner.

“As a commissioner, my vote carries the exact same weight as that of the mayor.”

Two other candidates, marketing professional Daniel Kahn and biking activist Kenneth Bereski, are also still in the Nov. 7 mayoral race.

 

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