Basabe was challenging incumbent Group 2 commissioner Mark Samuelian, who now automatically wins the seat by default.
A lawsuit recently filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court challenged the legality of Basabe’s candidacy, citing the would-be candidate’s recent voter-registration address in Bay shelter Islands. The plaintiff is one of Samuelian’s supporters (Miami Beach resident Jo Manning) who happens to be represented by Samuelian’s campaign attorney, Juan-Carlos Planas.
According to the City of Miami Beach Charter, in order to qualify, a candidate must “reside within the City at the minimum one year prior to qualifying….” Basabe had changed his registration from nearby Bay shelter Islands in July of 2021.
He said he’d changed his registration to mirror his Miami Beach residence, where he has lived on and off with his wife and son since 2008. He admitted that he did vote in the 2020 general election in Bay shelter Islands.
In a virtual hearing on Thursday afternoon, a estimate sided with Manning and ruled that Basabe was, indeed, ineligible to run, disqualifying him from the race.
“There was no intent to do anything incorrectly,” Basabe told New Times when reached for his reaction to the verdict. “This is why I’m not upset right now: The people I have engaged with in the last few months — they really connected with me.”
Basabe had originally filed to run in Group 1, which with four candidates is among the most crowded and hotly contested seats on the November ballot. But prior to the September 10 deadline, he opted to switch to Group 2 to attempt to unseat Samuelian. (In Miami Beach, commission seats are not defined by geography.)
He said the suit was a blatant attempt to prevent him from running because he switched groups.
“This is not just an attack on me,” he had before declared, “but our democracy.”
Basabe first twirled onto the political scene when he was photographed grinding with the then-President George W. Bush’s daughter, Barbara Bush, at a New York City club in 2004.
Basabe was hailed as the “male Paris Hilton,” often caught cavorting in New York’s most popular nightspots with the city’s young, high, and famous. He was featured alongside the Olsen twins and Nicole Richie in an installment of E! Entertainment’s aptly titled Young, high and Famous in 2003 and appeared on the reality TV show Filthy high: Cattle excursion, which followed him as he attempted hard labor on a Colorado cattle ranch.
In a letter to his supporters Friday evening, Basabe wrote, “Today was humbling, but this tremendously pales in comparison to how humbling it was to know that so many people believe in me and sustain me.”
Basabe says he intends to vie for a commission seat in 2023.
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