Elections

North Miami elects a new mayor, and re-elects two councilmen

North Miami City Councilman Philippe Bien-Aime has been accused of sexual assault by a contract employee. The woman, Janice Antoine, has filed a lawsuit against him and the city.
North Miami City Councilman Philippe Bien-Aime has been accused of sexual assault by a contract employee. The woman, Janice Antoine, has filed a lawsuit against him and the city. emichot@miamiherald.com

Residents of North Miami elected a new mayor and reelected two council members on Tuesday. A third race for the seat representing District 3 went to a runoff after no candidate took the necessary 50 percent of votes cast to win outright. The runoff election will be held on June 4.

In Tuesday’s election — in which 19 percent of registered voters cast ballots — councilmen Scott Galvin and Alix Desulme were reelected to represent Districts 1 and 4, respectively. Current councilman Philippe Bien-Aime, was elected to replace Smith Joseph as mayor, taking just shy of 52 percent of total votes.

“I am grateful to the residents of North Miami for putting their trust in me,” Bien-Aime said in a statement. “Whether your voted for me or someone else, I will be your mayor and work to earn your support moving forward. We are and will continue to be North Miami.”

Bien-Aime’s campaign was marred by a default judgment against him in a sexual harassment lawsuit after he failed to appear in court. The judgment was overturned after Bien-Aime’s lawyer argued the councilman had not been aware of the date, as his mail from the court was being sent to the wrong address. The lawsuit is pending.

In the June 4 runoff, Michael Etienne will face Mary Estimé-Irvin. On Tuesday, Etienne took 36.5 percent of total votes and Estimé-Irvin took 30.4.

The rising popularity of mail ballots poses a problem for a Florida election system built to handle in-person voting. Other states have fixed this by adopting a vote-at-home model.

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