Miami-Dade’s elections director joins Democratic Party ahead of expected run in ’24

Christina White, Miami-Dade County’s election director under mayors of both parties, recently joined the Democratic Party ahead of an expected campaign to retain her position when the office becomes independently elected next year.

White, 45, currently reports to Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat, as a director of a county department. White has held the post since 2015 when the county’s mayor at the time, Republican Carlos Gimenez, named her to run the department.

A spokesperson at the Elections Department, Robert Rodriguez, said Friday that White last week switched her party affiliation to Democratic from no party affiliation — a status best known as “NPA.”

In a statement, White said becoming a Democrat was a “values-based decision” that won’t affect her work as the person overseeing the Elections Department. “I have been in this role for eight years and I have gained the respect of the community as someone who has led the department in a nonpartisan, nonpolitical matter,” she said in a statement. “I will continue to do so today and into the future.”

Her statement stopped short of saying she was running, but White said she’s receiving encouragement to join the race and will have more conversations in the coming weeks about next steps.

After Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 requiring all counties to have independently elected supervisors, White has privately and publicly discussed the possibility of seeking the office herself.

She came to the position after a rocky 2012 election for Miami-Dade marred by waits so long that President Barack Obama cited them an example of ordeals voters faced that November.

Under White, the county’s Elections Department has won praise for its performance, with speedy results in the 2016 presidential election as the nation awaited Broward County’s tallies and a smooth recount of statewide races in 2018.

While county mayors hold non-partisan positions, candidates for elections supervisor must compete in party primaries, according to state rules.

That means White would need to win the Democratic Party nomination in August 2024 to then compete against the Republican nominee in November. This would be her first run for political office.

So far, only one candidate has filed for the supervisor race: Democrat Willis Perry Howard, a campaign consultant active in local races and a former chief of staff at the city of North Miami Beach.

Willis Howard, a campaign consultant and former North Miami Beach administrator, is a candidate for the 2024 Democratic primary for elections supervisor of Miami-Dade County .
Willis Howard, a campaign consultant and former North Miami Beach administrator, is a candidate for the 2024 Democratic primary for elections supervisor of Miami-Dade County .

In an interview, Howard, 49, said he’s bringing party loyalty and a long track record with campaigns and elections to his campaign.

“I’m running as a tried-and-true Democrat,” he said. “I was born a Democrat. I never switched.”