“If It Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It!” Incumbents Rule in Broward Elections

Garth A. Rose

miramar broward elections
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

“Look, if it isn’t broken, you don’t need to fix a thing!” This comment from Maizie Bayliss, a 30-year resident of Miramar, aptly sums up the results in municipal elections held on March 9, when not only in Miramar but other Broward cities, all the incumbent commissioners were re-elected to office. 

Bayliss, who is also a retired registered nurse, told CNW on Wednesday, “It’s better that we stick with the commissioners we know and trust than vote for people who we know nothing about.” She was responding to the re-election of Miramar Commissioners Maxwell Chambers, Yvette Colbourne, and Winston Barnes—all of Jamaican heritage.

As predicted by this newspaper, despite the challenges from newcomers to unseat the three incumbents, most of the voters believed they were performing well enough on the city commission to be re-elected.

Commissioner Yvette Colbourne representing Seat 2, firmly turned back challenger Darlene Riggs, a former commissioner herself, with the largest percentage of votes in the three contested seats. First elected to the commission in 2013, Colbourne was reelected with 66.29 percent of the votes compared to 33.61 for Riggs. Many voters consider her the most “savvy” of the city commissioners and believe she has the spine to stand up and seek benefits and efficient services for Miramar residents.

Veteran Commissioner Winston Barnes, who has been seated on the commission for 18 years, was easily re-elected in Seat 3, staving off the efforts of four challengers. Barnes, who has extremely high and positive name recognition as a longtime commissioner and a popular broadcaster on South Florida’s Caribbean-American radio, secured 60.86 percent of the votes. None of his challengers received more than 15 percent of the votes. His closest challenger, Val B. Glenister received only 14.19 percent of the votes.

The race in District 3 seat held by Commissioner Maxwell Chambers proved more competitive, but with 52.84 percent of the votes, Chambers held off the challenge from young Keri-Ann Nesbeth, who was touted in some circles as a potential winner but who received just 25.18 percent of the votes, and Chris Kovac with 21.97. Those who supported Chambers hailed him as “the people’s commissioner who is always looking out for us.”

Talking to residents on Wednesday it was apparent most of the voters residing in East Miramar (east of University Drive), sometimes referred to as “old Miramar” voted for the incumbents. While those in the western regions of the city divided their votes among the respective challengers.

According to the Broward Supervisor of Elections, only 19,992 voters of 141,884 registered voters, representing 14.09 percent, voted in Tuesday’s election. Although this is a very low percentage, it was nonetheless an improvement over municipal elections held in Broward in previous years. In the March 2019 Broward municipal election,  41,626, or 9.5 percent of registered voters voted. In March 2017, it was 10.05 percent; in 2015, 10 percent; and in 2013, 8.14.

As was seen in the general election last November, the boost in the voter turnout in Tuesday’s election was attributed to mail-in ballots. Of the votes cast, over 13,500 were mail-in ballots.

Incumbent commissioners and other city officials were also returned in elections held in Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, and Hillsboro Beach.

In Coconut Creek, Jacqueline Mary Railey defeated  Nikitress Vachon Lewis with a whopping 83 percent of the vote. Incumbent commissioner Sandra “Sandy” Welch receiving 74 percent of the vote, also handily defeated challengers Wesner St. Vil and Patricia Louise Duaybes, who was seeking to be the first African American commissioner in the city. Commissioner Joshua David Rydell was re-elected with 66 percent of the vote, defeating challenger Lauren Linville.

As expected, in Deerfield Beach, where the election involved just one set, incumbent Bernie Parness defeated  Richard Rosenzweig with 68 percent of the vote.

And, also as expected, town commissioners Deborah L. Tarrant, Vicky Feaman and Barbara Baldasarre were easily re-elected in Hillsboro Beach.

Another incumbent who retained her seat was Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petroila, who secured 51.5 percent of the vote edging out challenger Tracey Caruso who received 48.5 percent.

The results in other city elections cities were:

 

Boca Raton Commission: Seat C: Yvette Drucker – 50.9 percent. Seat D: Monica Mayotte – 58.8 percent.

Boca Raton Charter Questions:

Increase residence requirement for candidates seeking city office: Yes – 94.2 percent.

Remove qualification fees for candidates: Yes – 83.7 percent.

Delray Beach Commission: Seat 1: Adam Frankel – 54.6 percent. Seat 3 – Ryan Bolston 

Riviera Beach City Council: District 4: Julia Botel – 71.9 percent.

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