South Miami residents on Tuesday reelected Mayor Philip Stoddard and Commissioner Walter Harris.
Rounding out the new commission is high school teacher Gabriel Edmond, who won the open seat for Group I.
South Miami has a weak-mayor form of government, meaning a professional manager handles all the day-to-day issues of city government. The mayor and commission, five in total, make policy decisions.
Stoddard, a biology professor at Florida International University, faced opposition from 62-year old Valerie Newman, who left her commission seat to run for the post. Community activist and barber shop owner Rodney Williams, 41, also ran.
Ann Hoffman, a 54-year old massage therapist said she cast her vote for Stoddard.
“Stoddard has done so much for South Miami. He has helped end the corruption. He has helped get the budget back on track. He corrected a lot of mistakes,” Hoffman said.
Harris was challenged by former Mayor Horace Feliu for the Group IV seat. Harris owns a photography studio. The 70-year old has previously served one term on the commission. He garnered enough votes on Tuesday to be named the city’s vice mayor.
Edmond, 44, faced grant writer Donna Shelley, 64, for commission Group I. The seat was formerly held by Newman.
For such a small city, South Miami has a reputation for nasty politics. This election cycle was no different.
Stoddard, 56, claimed his campaign was under attack from Florida Power and Light — a charge the state utility company denied. The mayor has been an outspoken opponent of FPL’s plans to string power lines down U.S. 1 and to expand its nuclear plant, located near Homestead.
Stoddard took a break from celebrating on Tuesday to say: “Two things that I think decided this election: South Miami doesn’t like FPL messing in their elections and South Miami doesn’t like mean people.”