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.