The final campaign push toward Election Day in South Florida was in full swing Thursday.
Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is one of the familiar faces hoping to maintain their foothold in South Florida politics come Election Day on Tuesday.
Starting with feud between Mayor Tomas Regalado against former Police Chief Miguel Exposito, to the removal and then reinstatement twice of Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones, things have been tumultuous at Miami City Hall.
University of Miami political science professor George Gonzalez said that even the perception of political dysfunction hurts Miami's economic outlook.
"Miami looks like a place that is not as good place for investment, that the politics are in upheaval and chaotic, and potential investors are simply not going to want to deal with that," Gonzalez said.
Sarnoff faces four challengers in the race for District 2: Donna Milo, Kate Callahan, Michelle Niemeyer and Williams Armbrister. The other election in Miami is in Commission District 1, pitting incumbent Willy Gort up against Shawn Selleck.
Several mayoral races in South Florida are also getting heated. In Miami Beach, three challengers are in contention to unseat the current mayor Matti Herrera Bower. And at Hialeah City Hall, there is a fierce race for the top job. Current Mayor Carlos Hernandez faces political veterans Raul Martinez and Rudy Garcia. George Castro is also running.
Hialeah is a city notorious for political drama, with elected officials raising their voices at meetings and past allegations of political corruption. And Gonzalez said the perception of the circus-like atmosphere leaves voters feeling slighted.
"They feel demoralized about city government and city politics and so they get fearful on the one hand in general, and secondly they just don't feel like participating in that kind of process that.they feel is out of control, dysfunctional," he said.
Early voting has begun and runs until this weekend. Polls open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and if there is no majority winner in most of the race, the runoff date is set for Nov. 15.