Mark Samuelian, a Miami Beach activist who ran for commission in 2015 and lost by 77 votes, filed Monday to run again, joining the clusterbunch of candidates in the Group 2 open seat. Apparently, nobody wants to run against former Commissioner Michael Góngora in the Group 3 race.
There are four first timers running already in that Group 2 race, for a seat vacated by Commissioner Michael Greico‘s bid for mayor. They are: Zachary Eisner, Robert Lansburgh, Joshua Levy and Rafael Velasquez. Samuelian, who is president of Miami Beach United and quite active on city issues, has more name recognition and, with the first round experience, is arguably the instant front runner, especially if he keeps his preservationists base.
“Miami Beach has transformed into a truly world-class city, but we still face important challenges,” Samuelian said in a statement. “I look forward to utilizing my decades of real-world engineering and strategic business experience to help our city tackle major issues, including transportation, flooding and sea level rise, and quality of life for our residents.
In 2015, Samuelian — who also serves on the board of the Belle Isles Residents Association and the Pets Trust Advisory Board — had the Miami Herald endorsement as well as key endorsements from activists like Frank and Marian DelVecchio and former Miami Beach Commissioner Nancy Liebman when he ran and lost to John Elizabeth Aleman, who was the mayor’s slate mate. In the end, he got 4,999 votes to her 5,076. By a nose. He had 49.62% of the vote. Which certainly would encourage anyone to try again.
Samuelian got onto the ballot in 2015 by collecting a record number of petition signatures and told Ladra that he expect to break that record this year. He and his team will repeat the gassroots walking campaign of two years ago. “We will be listening closely to Miami Beach residents and engaging in serious conversations about our future,” Samuelian said.
But seriously, the future probably holds more candidates for this open seat. Qualifying isn’t until September even. Let’s see how long Samuelian can stay top dog.