Miami-Dade County

Miami commission candidate picks up runoff endorsement from former opponent

The battle lines have been drawn in the runoff race for Miami’s District 5 commission seat.

Keon Hardemon received the endorsement of former opponent Robert Malone on Friday, with little fanfare.

The two men confirmed the endorsement by telephone. It came on the heels of Hardemon’s rival, the Rev. Richard P. Dunn II, picking up the support Thursday from Jacqui Colyer, who had rounded out the candidate field in the first round of the election.

Hardemon faces Dunn in the Nov. 19 runoff after placing first Tuesday. Both candidates coveted the endorsements of Colyer and Malone, who placed third and fourth, respectively.

Malone, a Miami-Dade public schools instructor, said he met with Hardemon, an assistant public defender, on Thursday night to formally give him his support.

According to Malone, the four candidates were asked at a debate a few weeks ago whom they would back in a potential runoff. Malone said Hardemon, Malone recounted Friday.

“He’s intelligent,” said Malone, who has known Hardemon since both attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee about a decade ago.

Malone said the key issue in making his choice was selecting a candidate who pledges to listen not only to the core of the city’s only predominantly black district, from Overtown to Little Haiti, but also to the Upper Eastside neighborhoods recently added to District 5.

“He needs to be the commissioner for all of District 5,” Malone said. “He understands that, he recognizes that, and he’s going to do that.”

Hardemon promised to address the needs of the Upper Eastside and said he is grateful for Malone’s backing.

“His support means a lot to me, because I believe that Dr. Malone’s a very honest man” and voters will take Malone’s endorsement seriously, Hardemon added.

Though he was far outraised by Dunn, who has had previous commission stints, Hardemon received about twice as many votes in Tuesday’s election. Hardemon, who lost a Miami-Dade County Commission race last year against incumbent Audrey Edmonson, has the support of the term-limited city commissioner he’s vying to replace, Michelle Spence-Jones.

Dunn has yet to turn in his latest campaign-finance report, which was due Nov. 1. He had told the Miami Herald that he would deliver it Friday, but the city’s elections office did not receive it.