Four incumbents – William McKoy, Michael Jackson, Ruby Cotton, and Andre Sayegh — successfully defended their seats in the city’s intense municipal elections on Tuesday night while Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman suffered a defeat at the hand of newcomer Shahin Khalique.
Luis Velez picked up the 5th Ward council seat after incumbent Julio Tavarez decided not to run earlier in the year. Velez, an insurance underwriter, beat school board member Chrystal Cleaves and former board of education member Wendy Guzman.
The three biggest races were in the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th Wards. Sayegh comfortably defeated coach Al Abdelaziz.
Sayegh secured 1,569 votes while Abdelaziz received 1,084, according to unofficial results. In the 3rd Ward, veteran councilman McKoy handily defeated school board members Lilisa Mimms, Flavio Rivera, and Kenneth Simmons.
McKoy received 1,028 votes while Rivera came in second place with 718 ballots. Mimms received 479 and Simmons obtained 351, according to unofficial results.
McKoy won his 5th term on the city council with Tuesday night’s victory. In the 2nd Ward, incumbent Akhtaruzzaman failed to secure a second term.
Akhtaruzzaman received 1,346 votes while Khalique received 1,386, according to unofficial results which include mail-in votes. Goow came in third with 726 ballots and Gonzalez received 472, according to results.
The Akhtaruzzaman campaign challenged more than 200 of Khalique’s mail-in ballots. His campaign also said 200 of his mail-in votes were cast aside. The 2nd Ward incumbent’s campaign indicated he will take legal actions over the handling of the mail-in count.
Khalique’s campaign has been accused of engaging in allegedly questionable tactics to secure mail-in votes.
In the 4th Ward, Della Fischer came close, but fell short. Incumbent Cotton secured the seat with 772 votes. Fischer received 609 and Juan Kivelier Sosa obtained 300, according to unofficial results.
In the 5th Ward, Velez surprised both of his opponents with 1,001 votes. Guzman finished second with 553 votes and Cleaves received 371, according to unofficial results.
After winning the 1st Ward council seat in a special election in November, Jackson managed to hold on to it with 936 votes. Veronica Ovalles came in second with 389 votes and Brevard took third place with 212 ballots, according to unofficial results.