Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Steve Berke Will Not Be the Mayor of Miami Beach (For Now)

The small-town mayoral campaign covered everywhere from Maxim to the Times has ended with the easy reelection of the incumbent and with unimpressive voter turnout. 72-year-old Miami Beach mayor Matti Bower received 59.4% of the vote for her final term, which represents all of 4,096 votes. (In total, 6,888 people voted; of those, comedian-and-reality-show-dude challenger Steve Berke received 1612, almost a quarter.) Berke's entry into the race, with the management of Roger Stone (yes, him) was intended to engage younger voters, to promote Miami Beach as a hip resort town and to rile up the city. Berke's latest strategies were pretty vicious: his literature touted his Yale degree and referred to Bower as a high school dropout, and, for a pro-nightclub and pro-party candidate, he's come out real hard against Urban Beach Weekend, wherein black people from all over the country fill up the town's expensive hotel rooms and bring a great influx of cash to the city and non-black people complain about it and then the police harass, detain and/or shoot the visitors. Whether it was that message, or union support of the incumbent, or whether voters were not willing to be moved, it didn't result in a victory.

But if, perhaps, new voters did turn out, then previous voters stayed away, because only 88% of the number of voters came out this election compared to 2009. In 2009, Bower received 5768 votes, out of 7764—76.5% of the vote. So Berke, to his credit, did do some damage. Thankfully, the next election can't possibly be as nasty. (OR CAN IT.)

Berke's party, called The After Party, is supposed to be a Libertarian-leaning model of getting young people in office in smaller towns with nightlife industries; they've been scouting for candidates in other cities, including in California, but they have some kinks to work out. Getting people under 50 to turn out to vote isn't a cinch; Berke's exhausted face at his non-victory party last night is evidence of that.

Berke has already promised on Facebook he'll run again in 2013—with no incumbent to oppose him. That means he gets a year off, during which time his people will likely edit down the thousands of hours of video he's shot and try to make a show out of it.

6 Comments / Post A Comment

roboloki (#1,724)

by my calculations, he still has two days to plant a gun on her.

Matt (#26)

Nice one.

deepomega (#1,720)

Why won't someone stand up for the 18-24 year old white person demographic?

Danzig! (#5,318)

@deepomega Ron Paul 2012

semiserious (#2,430)

Union support is always a nice insurance policy, but I suspect that even more so than most cities, a large proportion of Police and Fire union members don't actually live and vote in Miami Beach.

Herrera also has the well deserved support of the gay community. She's also the first Hispanic mayor in a town where 53% of residents are Latino or Hispanic, so she has the identity politics going for her. And Berke pretty much ceded the older vote.

Going after straight, white voters under 50 in Miami Beach isn't much of a recipe for electoral success. And frankly, he probably only did as well as he did because of his opposition to Urban Beach Week, which as you noted, is discomforting.

zabatay (#4,448)

This is a Parks and Reaction episode summary?

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