Attempts to overturn the election of three Miami Gardens councilpersons who supported a community benefits package for the upcoming Formula One race fell short, according to the recall committee.
In a statement released Thursday, Karen Hunter-Jackson, chair of political action committee Miami Gardens Strong, announced that the committee failed to secure enough signatures to oust Vice Mayor Reginald Leon (seat 2), Councilman Robert Stephens (seat 6) and Councilwoman Katrina Wilson (seat 4).
The process began May 10, a little over a month after each councilpersons voted to partner with F1 race organizers — a move that Hunter-Jackson deemed a “betrayal.”
“Our feeling was no matter what, don’t cooperate or give safe haven in any way to any event that is going to impose what we feel is environmental racism on our community,” Hunter-Jackson, who also served as the chair of the recall committee, said in May.
Beginning May 10, the recall committee had 30 days to secure the signatures of 10% of registered voters from each Miami Gardens district. That time limit expired Thursday at midnight.
Although Hunter-Jackson would not reveal the specific number of signatures, most of the petitions were to remove Stephens and Leon due to the committee’s pivot to focus solely on removing them. The number of collected petitions exceeded the amount of votes that Stephens and Leon received in the 2020 and 2018 General Elections, respectively, according to Hunter-Jackson. Though it’s worth noting Florida Statutes require only those living in Leon’s district to be eligible to sign it and Stephens’ 2020 bid was for a district-specific seat.
“If that number of people are to vote against [Leon and Stephens], there’s no way they would make reelection,” Hunter-Jackson said Thursday evening.
With the recall officially behind him, Stephens reiterated his dedication to Miami Gardens.
“I just want the people to know that I’m committed to continuing to serve the community and being the best advocate for our residents,” he said.
Added Leon: “It’s time for us to move forward together as one Miami Gardens.”
As for the next steps, Hunter-Jackson vowed that their fight was far from over.
“The decision that these council members made, they’re going to wear it as an anchor around their necks,” she said. “This is not going away .”