Miami Beach

At least two candidates plan to run for Miami Beach mayoral post

Michael Grieco
Michael Grieco

In the wake of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine’s announcement that he will not run for a third term, at least two candidates are planning to throw their hats in the ring for the high-profile post.

Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco filed paperwork for the open mayoral post Friday. He said he would not comment about his candidacy until next week. Just seven months ago, Grieco, who was elected in November 2013, had filed with the city clerk to seek a second four-year term. This early filing does not preclude Grieco from changing seats.

He is a former state prosecutor and current defense attorney based in Miami Beach.

Also expected to run: Former Florida legislator Dan Gelber, a Democrat, who will likely announce his mayoral candidacy sometime this month, according to his political consultant Christian Ulvert.

“He’s very much interested,” Ulvert said Friday. “After Mayor Levine announced he wasn’t, he’s been fielding a lot of calls and talking to lots of people about it.”

If Gelber, who served both in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate, does run as expected, he’d be following in the footsteps of his well-known father, retired jurist Seymour Gelber. The elder Gelber was elected Miami Beach mayor in 1991 and won again easily in 1995.

Gelber served in the Florida Legislature for 10 years and was the Democratic nominee for Florida attorney general in 2010. He lost to the current AG, Pam Bondi. In the House Gelber served as minority leader from 2007-08. A longtime resident of the city who graduated from Miami Beach High, he co-founded the law firm of Gelber Schachter & Greenberg after leaving office.

Ulvert said Gelber was motivated by the contentious 2016 presidential election.

“After this last election cycle, he begin thinking about it,” he said. “Public service is a big part of his life.”