News, Politics, Village Life

Pardo Wins D2 Seat in Upset

In yesterday’s runoff election, Damian Pardo ousted incumbent Sabina Covo to win a four-year term as the commissioner for District 2, which includes Coconut Grove and much of Miami’s coastal region. Pardo won with 52.56% of the vote to Covo’s 47.44%. As many expected, the turnout was low at 14.49% of the city’s registered voters.

In the same election, Alex Diaz de la Portilla (“ADLP”), the District 1 commissioner recently suspended by the governor who faces a number of corruption charges, including money laundering and criminal conspiracy, lost to challenger Manuel Gabela. Manolo Reyes, the commissioner for District 4, easily won another four-year term on Nov. 7.

Taken together, the results of the two City of Miami runoff races amount to an important shift in Miami politics. Diaz de la Portilla was a key vote in the Feb. 2022 redistricting plan that divided Coconut Grove between Districts 2 and 3. That same plan drew a line around Gabela’s house in District 1 that made him a resident of District 3—and thus, supposedly, ineligible to challenge ADLP. Gabela fought this in court and won, stayed in the race, and gained enough votes on Nov. 7 to require yesterday’s District 1 runoff.

Meanwhile, the legal foothold of the redistricting plan is still in play. The ACLU has spearheaded a court case, in which several Coconut Grove leaders are plaintiffs, that could overturn the redistricting plan. The case will come to trial in January 2024.

Yesterday’s runoff was a clear indication of the influence of Coconut Grove voters. Pardo won by 263 votes, about 5% of total votes cast. Among the seven Grove precincts, Pardo earned 263 more votes than Covo, about 10% of the total Grove votes. The seven Grove precincts cast half of all votes cast in the runoff. There are 29 precincts in District 2, and the total vote count was 5,143.

Looking at precinct-level results, Coconut Grove voters clearly favored Pardo. In Precinct 587 (South and Center Grove), 59% of 966 total voters favored Pardo. In Precinct 582 (So. Bayshore), 55% of the 572 voters favored Pardo, and in Precinct 546 (Coconut Grove Park), 73% of the 208 voters favored Pardo.

These numbers tell only part of a bigger story that will continue to unfold in the coming days and months. They include: What role did money play in this election? What were the winning strategies that led to an upset? What are the implications of a significantly altered City Commission for Miami’s political and legislative future?


Recent News