Miami Beach

Former state lawmaker Dan Gelber will run for Miami Beach mayor

Former state Sen. Dan Gelber, left center, alongside his father and former Miami Beach Mayor Seymour Gelber, is cheered on by family and friends at Miami Beach City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, after he filed paperwork to run for mayor of the city.
Former state Sen. Dan Gelber, left center, alongside his father and former Miami Beach Mayor Seymour Gelber, is cheered on by family and friends at Miami Beach City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, after he filed paperwork to run for mayor of the city. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

It’s officially a race for the mayor’s seat in Miami Beach.

Former state Sen. Dan Gelber filed paperwork Tuesday to run for mayor. He went to City Hall with his family, including his father, former Beach Mayor Seymour Gelber.

The filing puts Gelber, a former federal prosecutor, into contention with Michael Grieco, a former state prosecutor. So far, the two are the only mayoral candidates in the November election, but candidates can file until early September.

“This has been my home since I was born,” Gelber told reporters after submitting his paperwork. “Our city, our home is facing unbelievable challenges right now. Rising waters are threatening our homes, unbelievable congestion, and development that seems to be out of control. So I’m running because it’s not in my DNA to sit on the sidelines.”

The younger Gelber looked at his 97-year-old father, a retired jurist, as he said that.

“I know that Dan is going to be a great candidate and, I hope, a great mayor,” Seymour Gelber said, adding that he is proud of his son.

Dan Gelber, 56, spent nearly a decade as a federal prosecutor and a decade in the Florida Legislature before running for Florida attorney general in 2010. That year, he lost to Pam Bondi, the current attorney general.

He has since founded Gelber Schachter & Greenberg, a boutique law firm based in Brickell. On Tuesday, he said friends have talked to him about running before every mayoral election (every two years) for many years.

“When this seat came open, it occurred to me that this would be the right time to do it,” he said. “My family’s behind me. My friends are behind me. My dad thought that it was a good idea, too.”

Gelber’s only opponent at this point is Grieco, a city commissioner who is completing his first term. Grieco was running for a second term in that seat until incumbent Mayor Philip Levine announced on Jan. 12 that he would not seek a third two-year term. Grieco filed to run for mayor the next day.

“This is an open seat for the next mayor of our city, so competition is expected. I look forward to earning the voters’ support by communicating my proven record of service on the commission and my vision for our future,” Grieco said. “I welcome the opportunity to compare my local record as a commissioner and understanding of local Miami Beach issues with our newly filed opponent.”

Levine is considering a run for governor.

Joey Flechas: 305-376-3602, @joeflech

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