First-time candidate Timothe defeats ex-mayor Burns for North Miami council seat

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Kevin Burns
    American television and film producer, director, and screenwriter (1955-2020)

First-time candidate Kassandra Timothe has defeated former North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns in a runoff for the city’s District 2 City Council seat, according to unofficial results posted Tuesday night by the Miami-Dade elections department.

Results posted by the department showed Timothe, 31, beating Burns with 56% of the vote.

“This is like a dream come true,” Timothe told the Miami Herald. “You go to school, you come back to serve your community and you try to be a champion in your community.”

Timothe spent five years working as North Miami’s public information officer. Before that, she was a legislative aide to former state Sen. Arthenia Joyner and Tampa Councilwoman Lisa Montelione. She also spent the summer of 2012 working for North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art, helping pitch a $15 million bond proposal to voters that ultimately failed.

About 1,300 ballots were cast in the runoff that ended Tuesday, a turnout of under 17% in District 2, which includes North Miami’s downtown corridor.

“I think people want change — they want people who want to serve the people and not special interests,” said Timothe, who said she refused to take campaign donations from developers in an effort to remain independent.

Timothe raised over $50,000 and initially won the endorsement of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, though it was put on hold after a controversy over the party’s endorsement process. In the general election on May 11, she finished 10 points ahead of Burns with 34% of the vote. The race went to a runoff because none of the seven candidates got a majority of votes.

Timothe was the youngest candidate in a seven-person race and the lone Haitian American, toppling a field that included Burns, the daughter of a former mayor and the wife of a former councilman.

She will serve a four-year term and become the city council’s lone newcomer, filling a seat that is being vacated by term-limited Councilwoman Carol Keys, who was first elected in 2013. In the city’s other May 11 races, incumbent Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime and incumbent Councilwoman Mary Estime-Irvin were both victorious.

Like many of her opponents, Timothe said it would be crucial for the city to address its budget deficit.

“I think the biggest issue is fiscal responsibility,” Timothe told the Miami Herald in April.

Burns, 62, was the mayor of North Miami from 2005 to 2009. He touted his political experience on the campaign trail, both as mayor and more recently as a registered lobbyist in the city.

“I know the inner workings of this city better than any other candidate,” he said.

Burns told the Herald in a text message Tuesday night that he believes “both campaigns’ teams were fair and didn’t get negative.”

“I will continue to be involved in our city and hope to make it a better place to live,” he said.

Timothe will be sworn in June 8.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting