While most races for Miami Gardens City Council were settled Tuesday night, voters will have to return to the polls in November to settle the race for council seat 5.
The at-large seat will go to a runoff election as none of the four candidates was able to secure a simple majority, one vote more than 50 percent. Incumbent councilman David Williams Jr., who finished second, will face former councilman Andre Williams in November. (The two men are not related.)
For Andre Williams, who served on the council from 2006 to 2012, the runoff will be familiar territory. He was in the same position in 2014, when he unsuccessfully competed for seat 6. He said that each election is different and he will use his experience from the 2014 race as he reaches out to residents.
“I knew my message was resonating with the residents,” Andre Williams said. “I think Councilman Williams is disconnected from the residents and the residents want leadership on issues that are important to them like unemployment and high taxes.”
David Williams Jr. said he was surprised by Tuesday’s outcome but looks forward to a less-crowded field in the runoff and the chance to compare his and his opponent’s accomplishments from their time on the dais.
“I’m going to speak to the facts of my record, I’m not going to create any illusions for people,” David Williams Jr. said.
In Tuesday’s other races, Mayor Oliver Gilbert won reelection without having to go to a runoff by securing about 69 percent of the vote. Council members Lillie Odom and Rodney Harris also comfortably held onto seats 1 and 3 winning with 57 and 88 percent of the vote respectively.
Voters also approved a city charter change that will give Miami Gardens and the Miami-Dade County Commission joint building and zoning control of Hard Rock Stadium and the surrounding areas. The final step will be the establishment of a joint zoning ordinance that will need approval by both the City Council and the County Commission.
The runoff election will be held Nov. 8. Residents have until Oct. 11 to register to vote for that election.