NORTH MIAMI — Two candidates emerged from a field of six in North Miami’s mayoral elections earlier this week. They will face each other in a special run-off election on June 2.

Frank Wolland and Andre Pierre were the two top vote-getters in the city’s May 12 mayoral elections. Wolland, North Miami’s city clerk and a former mayor, received 1,666 votes. Andre Pierre, a lawyer and former chairman of the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce, received 1,338 votes.
“When you have six candidates in the race, it is very difficult for one candidate to earn the majority – 50 [percent] plus 1 – of votes,” said Pierre of the provision requiring that the winning candidate receives a majority plus 1 vote.

If elected, Pierre will become the city’s second Haitian-American mayor.  Josaphat “Joe” Celestin, the city’s first Haitian-American mayor, was elected in 1999 and again in 2001. He had planned to run again during this election, but dropped out of the race after he saw that Pierre and two other Haitians were in it.

Wolland, 56, who could not be reached in time for comment, has served as a city councilman, mayor and city clerk.

“I’m very happy about giving back to the community that has given me such a wonderful life,” he said earlier in the campaign. 

Only 16.5 percent of the city’s 27,887 registered voters – 4,589 – turned out for the elections, which also fielded candidates for two council seats in District 2 and 3 and the city clerk’s seat.   

The turnout is down from previous elections that usually see about 25 percent of the voters at the polls.

Only the city clerk’s race was decided this week. Public relations firm owner Alix Desulme beat out real-estate broker Carol Besade-Preger to become the new city clerk.

But the two council seats will be decided along with the mayor’s race in the run-off elections.

The contenders are:

District 2: incumbent Michael R. Blynn, who earned 455 votes, and business owner Bonnie Schwartzbaum, who earned 293. 

District 3: Michelle Garcia, an information technology manager at Royal Caribbean International, received 401 votes, and Jean Rodrigue Marcellus, an immigrations and customs enforcement detention officer, received 322.

Pierre, 40, said he’ll continue to campaign aggressively for mayor during the three-week run-off period.

“We’ll continue to knock on doors, speak with families on the street, and talk to law enforcement experts,” he said.  “We’re going to go back out there and continue what we’ve been doing all along.”