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Miami Beach candidate survives challenge to residency

Miami Beach Commission candidate Sherry Kaplan Roberts on Monday survived a legal attempt to kick her off of Tuesday’s general election ballot.

A local blogger filed a lawsuit against Roberts on Friday, claiming she didn’t live in Miami Beach – a requirement to run for office there.

“I am very pleased, not only for myself but for my supporters in Miami Beach,” Roberts said. “The judge made a declaratory judgment that I am a resident of Miami Beach. That I have done community service for years and I am an active member. It couldn’t have gone any better.”

John P. Morgan brought the complaint against Roberts. He has also filed an election complaint with the state.

As proof of his claims, he points to a tax exemption for homeowners that Roberts claims on her Ohio property. While she is currently renting, Roberts has also claimed a homestead exemption previously on property in Miami Beach.

Ben Kuehne, a lawyer who represented Morgan, said the evidence of Roberts’ residency was “very questionable.”

“At least we had a fair airing before the judge,” he said.

Roberts called the lawsuit “a blatant attempt to try to suppress votes in Miami Beach, and I’m thrilled that judge saw it for just what it was.”

Roberts has businesses and a home in Ohio. She says her partner travels back-and-forth, but that she lives in Miami Beach full time.

She faces Realtor Micky Steinberg, retiree Elsa Urquiza and businessman Mohammed Islam. A likely runoff would be held Nov. 19.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.

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