“Steve Berke for Mayor” is No Joke

The "After Party" Rages On

I remember when Steve Berke first told me of his plans to run for Mayor of Miami Beach.

Admittedly, I was cynical and assumed Steve’s Mayoral campaign would be a joke, or better yet, just another way to promote his stand-up comedy. But I should have known better; every thing I’ve ever heard Steve say he was going to do, he’s done…and done well.

Many out there who don’t know Steve will make the same mistaken assumption as I did early on…only now its obvious they aren’t paying attention.

Not only is Berke’s “After Party” running a serious campaign, but the 30 year old comedian/tennis pro/reality star/Yale Grad could very well be the next Mayor of Miami Beach.

Berke’s platform is no joke.

Steve recognizes that today’s Daily Show age requires a new breed of politician. People are fed up with a lack-of-transparency in politics and even more fed up with wasteful spending and ridiculous government salaries/pensions. He knows Miami Beach residents hate the notoriously crime-filled Urban Week and wants to re-brand the holiday weekend as a legitimate vacation destination for Veterans and their families. He also feels that the city’s youth, as well as it’s nightlife industry (both which bring in significant dollars to the area) are blatantly ignored in local politics and need fair representation.

Berke talks big, dreams bigger, and accomplishes it all

Berke faces a strong incumbent in 72 year old Mattie Bower, and while it’s normally easy to get lost in a 4 candidate shuffle, Steve excels in making himself stand out.

He’s brilliantly used his comedy to reach the masses, and his bottles and models-like campaign has established Berke as the anti-establishment candidate. That’s probably exactly what Miami Beach – one of the most famous cities in the country – needs to shake up the stale state of local affairs.

To everyone actually paying attention to the local race (watch debate video below) its shockingly obvious that the political newcomer is the most comfortable of the four candidates in front of the camera, and the only one that seems capable of clearly articulating his platform.

But local politics are often a popularity contest, and its difficult for anyone to be more popular than the incumbent. Especially one who was popular enough to become the first female mayor of the city.

Fortunately for Berke, while local politics rarely gain national attention, his campaign has already received the Maxim treatment, and this weekend he was featured in the New York Times. Steve will soon be seen on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell as well as other cable news shows the finally caught on to the seriousness of the comedian’s campaign.

So now we know that his message has reached far across the country, but has he reached enough people in Miami Beach?

To win the Mayor’s seat, a candidate needs a majority of the vote (50% +1); so considering only around 7,000 of Miami Beach’s 100,000 residents voted in the last off-year election, about 3500-4000 votes will likely get the job done.

That’s a tough number for a challenger to pull off in his first election, but Berke is well on his way. His petition to decriminalize marijuana earned almost 9000 signatures. He’s the only candidate targeting the youth vote and has registered thousands of new voters. His campaign registered another couple thousand voters for absentee ballots so they can vote from their couch (stats say that 80% of absentee ballots vote for the candidate who signed them up for it).

If he’s able to gain ground in any of those areas, Berke will surely be in for an exciting Tuesday night.

Mayor Bower certainly hopes that the other 3 candidates will drown each other out, but its likely that the large pool will actually keep anyone from earning a majority of the vote. If no majority is earned, then a run-off election will take place between the top 2 vote getters.

Berke is hoping to find himself in such a situation, because the momentum of such a surprise campaign will likely push the comedian into City Hall.

But as Berke likes to point out, a local election is like a year-long basketball game where no one knows the score til its over.

By all accounts it looks like Berke is faring pretty well in the game, but of course it all comes down to who shows up to the ballot box on Tuesday, November 1st.

I know I might be biased, but here’s to hoping the “After Party” isn’t ending any time soon.

Read: Steve Berke for Mayor — The After Party

Read: Miami Beach Comedian’s Serious, Mostly, As A Candidate — NY Times

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