Homestead Mayor Steve Losner wins reelection in close race

Homestead Mayor Steve Losner won reelection Tuesday, securing a second two-year term in a runoff against former Council member Elvis Maldonado in a close race where the two candidates were separated by just 68 votes.

With all precincts reporting at 8:30 p.m., Losner received 51% of the vote, represented by 1,728 ballots cast in his favor. Maldonado got 1,660 votes.

Losner, 60, is a fourth-generation Homestead resident and a past City Council member. He returned to politics to run for Mayor in 2019 after more than a decade away — he’s a lawyer with a private practice in the city — to address what he called Homestead’s “untapped potential,” including bringing more dining, retail and entertainment options and building more quality housing.

Since he took office, the city opened Homestead Station, a massive downtown shopping and entertainment complex near the city’s 83,000-square-foot government building. There also has been ample residential development, with the median sales price of a single-family home in the city rising by $150,000 since 2016.

In his campaign this year, Losner vowed to “build on the progress” already made.

“Steve promised to put our residents first, and he’s delivered on that promise,” his campaign website said.

That placed him at odds with Maldonado, 48, a software engineer who resigned from the Council last year to succeed term-limited Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss. He lost in a runoff to former Rep. Kionne McGhee.

Maldonado’s platform priorities included blocking overdevelopment, improving traffic by making every county road in the city four lanes and adding more traffic signals, keeping taxes low and the city budget in check and supporting the Homestead Police Department.

He highlighted the city’s working-class roots, stressing the importance of keeping housing costs and local services fees down so residents weren’t priced out of the city. He told the Miami Herald while campaigning he wanted to “stop the growth as much as possible.”

“I don’t want to see any more traffic,” he said. “But I also want to enhance our streets, our traffic here, so we can have a better quality of life.”

The runoff came after neither Losner nor Maldonado secured more than 50% of the vote in the October Primary Election, which attracted just 8% of the city’s 35,000 eligible voters. Losner received nearly 47% of the vote. Maldonado took 36%.

Losner blamed former Mayor Jeff Porter, who also ran in the Primary, for the shortfall. He said Porter was “not a legitimate candidate” and had been propped up by city employees and developers who hoped Porter would split the vote and hand Maldonado a victory.

He has rubbed some fellow elected officials the wrong way, including Vice Mayor Patricia Fairclough, who sought a restraining order against him a month after he took office in 2019.

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