Your Riptide Guide to Today's Elections (With Help From Mickey Rourke)

Categories: Politicks
Hey, it's your favorite morning of the year! The one where you stumble out of bed to realize you spent the night next to a stranger dressed like Muammar Gaddafi (too soon?), scrape the caked zombie makeup off your face and stumble to work through a grade-five hangover. But then on the way, you get to vote! Yay, America!

Miami may have cruelly scheduled Election Day right after Halloween, but don't worry: Riptide's got your guide to today's three biggest races. Who will get to ignore Miami Beach's police problem next? Can anyone topple Marc Sarnoff? And what the hell's going on in Hialeah?

To help us predict the day's biggest upsets, we've recruited the Magic City's own king of comebacks, a guy who went from washed up South Beach bum to star of the Wrestler, Iron Man 2 and Passion Play. (Um, actually forget that last one.)

Photo by George Martinez
Will the party people actually come out to vote for Steve Berke?
Miami Beach Mayor

The Players: Incumbent Matti Herrera Bower, a two-term, grandmotherly figure with all the energy and zeal of present-day Bea Arthur (who, yes, is dead); Steve Berke, a Yale-educated comedian who might just be running for office as part of an elaborate reality show; Dave Crystal, a standardized testing tutor; and Laura Rivero Levey, a PR consultant.

What's At Stake: Voters get to pick the next inert body to sit idly by the sea while Dade's worst police force drunkenly runs over tourists with ATVs, takes millions in possibly bogus overtime and shoots at minorities during Urban Beach Weekend. (No, but seriously: Miami Beach has a very strong city manager system, so the mayor is sort of an ornamental doorknob that votes.)

Hottest Issue: Urban Beach Weekend. Challengers Berke and Crystal have hammered Bower over the Memorial Day weekend hip hop fest after this year's edition ended with a messy Washington Avenue police shootout.

Chances for an Upset Special: Three-and-a-half Mickeys

The real question in South Beach is whether Berke can turn boatloads of press -- from New Times profiles to New York Times write-ups -- into actual votes.

Combined with Crystal, who's raised $22,000 and run a feisty campaign, and widespread antipathy toward Bower's handling of the Miami Beach PD's horrific year (even the Miami Herald only endorsed her "by default"), the two challengers might just force a runoff in an election likely to have abysmal turnout.

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