In perhaps the tightest race in Miami Shores history, three candidates won at-large council seats on Tuesday with only nine votes separating first and third place.
The majority vote went to Alice Burch with 1,025 votes, landing her a four-year term on council with two of those years as mayor. Runner-up Steve Zelkowitz earned the vice mayor seat with 1,020 votes and Ivonne Ledesma won a two-year term on the council with 1,016 votes.
Barbara Estep, village clerk, announced the results shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m. in the Community Center on Tuesday.
The combined results are unofficial until Friday, after the county audits them.
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The newly elected mayor and longtime governing member of the Doctor’s Charter School board said she was stunned at how close the results were.
“I’m amazed really, but I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work for the Shores,” said Burch. “I’ve been working in many ways for a long time, but always in the background, so now I have a chance to make a difference.”
Moving forward as mayor, Burch said she is enthusiastic about being able to build a new community center, revitalizing the Shores’ downtown area along Northeast Second Avenue, and about making the village more walkable and bike-friendly.
Former mayor Herta Holly and vice mayor Jesse Walters will join the three candidates on the council while finishing their two-year terms.
“I have worked a long time with Alice; she’s going to be a superb mayor,” said Holly. “She has her finger on so many things on our community and she’s just a hard-working soul.”
Zelkowitz, a 25-year real estate, zoning and land-use attorney and current chair of the village’s planning and zoning board, said he is happy to be on board with Burch, Ledesma and remaining council members.
“I’m very proud to be part of it and I’m excited to be vice mayor,” said Zelkowitz. “I’ve never seen a race this close, and you know people spoke about how one or two votes can make a difference, and in this case, one or two votes made the difference.”