In a runoff election between two first-time candidates, Miami Dade College professor Kristen Rosen Gonzalez won a seat on the Miami Beach City Commission by defeating music industry executive Elizabeth “Betsy” Pérez.
Rosen Gonzalez captured 59 percent of the vote to win the Group 4 seat in her victory over Pérez, who trumped her opponent in fundraising and received endorsements from three former opponents, two current city commissioners and Mayor Philip Levine.
Levine, who easily won re-election Nov. 3, threw his endorsement and several thousand dollars into Pérez’s well-funded campaign. She was a part of a slate of candidates favored by the mayor during this election.
Rosen Gonzalez had branded herself as an independent voice outside the slate and had garnered support from a group of longtime activists in the Beach, including preservationists. Surrounded by supporters at a celebration Tuesday night in North Beach, she thanked her team.
“I feel great. I’m in shock,” she said. “But you know this was a collective win. For the residents of Miami Beach, this is their win.”
She said she looks forward to joining a dais that largely supported her opponent and working collaboratively with them.
“I want to move Miami Beach forward as much as they do,” she said. “I want to be able to work together.”
In a text message Tuesday night, Pérez said the campaign was a great experience: “I wish Kristen the best, and I hope to continue to serve Miami Beach in any way possible.’’
Pérez raised $114,700 since Election Day two weeks ago, which is nearly half of her total as of Nov. 12 — $238,500. That’s nearly three times Rosen’s total of $82,500.
The runoff election did not attract a large turnout in the Beach. About 4,600 people voted, or about 10 percent.
New commissioners will be sworn in Monday.