MIAMI — As Florida’s primary elections approaches in August, numerous Haitian-American candidates have been campaigning in a slew of races. They include familiar faces, such as renowned activist Marleine Bastien and former North Miami Mayor Joe Celestin, as well as new names.
Early voting begins Mon., Aug. 8 through Sun., Aug. 21. Election day is Tue., Aug. 23. To vote in the primary, one had to register or change your party affiliation by Mon, July 25 so one can select from candidates in their chosen political party. All voters can vote in nonpartisan races.
Among the multitude of races on the primary ballot are those for state executive offices, U.S. senators and representatives, state legislators, and local offices that vary by municipality.
The following is a list of key races featuring Haitian-American candidates and some with non-Haitian contenders that stand to impact Haitian voters in those communities.
Miami-Dade County Commission
Four of the six candidates running for Miami-Dade County Commission District 2 are Haitian-American. The winner will succeed term-limited Jean Monestime, the first Haitian-American to hold a seat as a Miami-Dade County commissioner.
District 2 — Encompasses North Miami, Opa-locka, North Miami Beach, and parts of the city of Miami, Biscayne Gardens, and Liberty City.
- Wallace Aristide, Nonpartisan, former Miami-Dade County Public Schools educator and principal
- Marleine Bastien, Nonpartisan, executive director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM).
- Philippe Bien-Aimé, Nonpartisan, North Miami mayor
- Josaphat Joe Celestin, Nonpartisan, former North Miami Mayor, first Haitian American mayor of a sizable city in the United States. Celestin currently serves as a member of the Miami Dade County civilian police oversight board and a chairman at Celes Real Estate Group.
Miami natives William “DC” Clark, a former educator and firefighter, and Monique Nicole Barley-Mayo are also running.
Broward County Commission
District 9 — Encompasses Broward Municipal Service District and parts of Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill , Oakland Park, Plantation and Sunrise
- Guithele Ruiz-Nicolas, Democrat, non profit work and community leader. If elected, she would be Browards first Haitian-American county commissioner.
She faces Hazelle Rogers, a member of the Florida House of Representatives.
Florida House of Representatives
District 108 — Encompasses northeastern City of Miami and the western portion of North Miami; Villages of Biscayne Park, El Portal and Miami Shores; and the unincorporated Dade county areas of Gladeview, Golden Glades, Pinewood, West Little River and Westview.
- Dotie Joseph, Democrat, incumbent, seeking her third term in the district.
- Michael Etienne, Democrat, former North Miami City Clerk.
Roy Hardemon, who served District 108 from 2016 to 2018, is also running. He’s a community activist in Liberty City, and has done work with an anti-poverty group called Liberty City Rising.
United States House of Representatives
District 20 — Encompasses the area around Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach; including North Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Tamarac, Miramar, Lake Park, Riviera Beach and parts of Pompano Beach and Sunrise.
- Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Democrat, incumbent.
Cherfilus-McCormick is running against Dale Holness, former Mayor of Broward County and Anika Tene Omphroy, who currently represents the 95th House District that includes parts of Broward.
District 22 —Encompasses the coastline of Broward County to southern Palm Beach County; includes Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs and part of Pompano Beach.
- Rod Dorilás, Republican, Navy veteran who served in the U.S. Commerce Department under the Trump Administration.
Dorilas faces Deborah Adeimy, Peter Arianas, Dan Franzese, and Carrie Lawlor in the Republican primary.
Voters have until Sat., Aug. 13, to sign up to receive a ballot for the primary.
An earlier version of this article was published in the Haitian Times.