Best Political Comeback (2011)

Jean Monestime

In 2005, Jean Monestime suffered a stunning defeat. He lost the mayoral election in Haitian-American-rich North Miami by 22 points to an Anglo, openly gay candidate named Kevin Burns. Two years later, Burns again clobbered Monestime in a rematch that all but relegated the moderate former city councilman's political career to the sidelines. Not for long. Last year, Monestime capitalized on voter discontent with then-county Commissioner Dorrin Rolle, whose district includes parts of North Miami, Little Haiti, and Liberty City. Monestime rallied Haitian-Americans and won a sizable portion of Rolle's traditional African-American support to become the first candidate to beat an incumbent county commissioner since 1994. Despite raising only $74,845 to Rolle's hefty $329,785 war chest, Monestime beat his opponent by more than 2,000 votes. The real estate broker has already hit the ground running, rescinding affordable-housing funds on questionable projects until he comes up with a comprehensive economic development plan for his long-forgotten district.


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