Tuesday’s midterm election, which focused on state and countywide races, also included four local races for mayor, council or commission seats in which African American candidates fared well.


Opa-locka’s mayoral race pitted the incumbent and the vice mayor, who had competed against each other also in 2006, when Joseph Kelley won. This time, Myra Taylor was the victor, returning to the city’s top office after having been removed following indictment in 2004 on felony charges of conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. Taylor  pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge of failing to file tax returns in a timely manner. She was re-elected to the City Commission in 2008.

In El Portal, Daisy Black defeated incumbent Mayor Joyce A. Davis, also an African American who has served on the village council since 2006 and was appointed vice mayor during her first term. Black, a former teacher, was elected the city’s first mayor in December 1991.

In the election for Council Seat 1, the vice mayor, Harold E. Mathis Jr., defeated Marcus Parramore, a political newcomer and a recent graduate of the University of West Florida. For Council Seat 4, incumbent Linda Marcus won over political newcomer Sadri Manrique, a social worker originally from Honduras. Marcus, who is white, has been on the council since 2004.

Controversies came to light on the campaign trail in Opa-locka and neighboring Miami Gardens, where a council candidate challenged vote totals from an August general election and won a court-ordered decision to force a run-off.

Felicia Robinson won the Seat 4 on the Miami Gardens City Council. Robinson, a councilwoman and a Miami-Dade Schools teacher, was declared the winner in the August primary, but her opponent, J. Phillip Tavernier, a youth counselor, won a court-ordered re-election after discovering that not all the votes had been counted during the primary.

Miami-Dade Judge Law-rence Schwartz agreed. Santarvis Brown, drop-ped out of the primary prior to the election and Tavernier claimed that the 589 votes that Brown received should have been counted. With a new vote total, Robinson fell short of the 50 percent plus 1 majority she needed to win.

In Opa-locka’s special commission election to complete the remaining two years of Taylor, who resigned to run for mayor, Gail Miller defeated two candidates, including Terence Pinder, former vice mayor. Pinder was trying to regain the seat he lost when he was suspended due to pending criminal charges of filing a false campaign statement, official misconduct and grand theft. Pinder, supervisor of public relations for the Opa-locka flea market, awaits trial Nov. 15.

Miller, a Miami-Dade Transit dispatcher, was appointed to the commission in 2007 to replace Pinder. She lost a close election in 2008. Former Police Chief James Smith placed third.

Dorothy "Dottie" Johnson and Timothy Holmes won two at-large seats.

In Broward County, Alexandra Davis won Seat 1 on the Miramar commission left vacant by Barbara Sharief, who was elected to the Broward Commission.

For the Miami-Dade School Board District 2 seat left vacant with retirement of Solomon Stinson, former state Rep. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall defeated lawyer and schools administrator Ronda Vangates.