The race for North Miami’s District 2 council seat is in a run-off and the rhetoric is heating up.

Kevin Burns, a gay man and former two-term North Miami mayor, advanced to the second round of voting. Burns received 334 votes, garnering 24% of the ballots in the field of seven candidates. He trailed Kassandra Timothe by 142 votes.

Burns said he was proud of the efforts from campaign supporters and other groups offering assistance. With such a large field, a run-off was expected, he said.

“I had great support from all ethnic groups within the district and I didn’t play negative or racial politics,” Burns said. “My previous work as mayor and my continued involvement with the community was recognized and appreciated by the voters.”

The run-off election is slated for June 1. Timothe, 31, a Black woman, has spent the last five years serving as a public information officer for the city. Timothe led the District 2 pack with 477 votes for 34%. 

“Our city needs change,” Timothe said. “Young, fresh and vibrant change. Kevin Burns had his time, now it’s time for strong, progressive leadership.”

Burns, 62, said Timothe doesn’t want to put in the sweat equity needed to improve North Miami’s future.

“I have done the work and have a proven track record with successful results as opposed to my opponent who thinks you can give everybody what they want for free just because they are young and entitled, without the work,” Burns said. “There is nothing for free when spending the taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”

In a telephone call to SFGN, Timothe responded by saying she sacrificed her $70,000 PIO job to campaign for the council seat. Timothe said her story is far from entitled. At 18 she lost her father and has since devoted much of her time to caring for her mother, she said.

“Nothing has been given to me,” Timothe said. “I know what it feels like to struggle.”

Timothe said LGBT residents of North Miami should be treated equally, adding, “I have family and friends who are LGBTQ.”

Burns has the endorsement of SAVE and Equality Florida. Only 18% of registered voters in North Miami voted in the May 11 election. District 2 has six precincts and Burns topped the field in vote by mail

“I have always done very well with absentee ballots, and on the day of elections,” said Burns. “We spent most of our efforts getting in front of the voters who preferred to vote by mail.”

A realtor and owner of a Christmas tree business, Burns has criticized the city for overspending. Timothe said Burns should get his own finances in order first, describing the former mayor as “someone else looking for a paycheck.”

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