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Miami lawyer ends Supervisor of Elections bid after Donald Trump endorses opponent

Civil litigator Megan Pearl is out of the race for Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections (SOE), giving an unobstructed path to the GOP nomination to Miami Rep. Alina García.

Pearl cited an endorsement ex-President Donald Trump gave García as her reason. In a show of unity, she endorsed García too.

“Running for Supervisor of Elections … gave me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about the political process and meet many wonderful people. I want to thank those in the community who believed in my campaign and my vision for the office,” Pearl said in a statement.

“However, after a great deal of thought, I have decided to suspend my campaign and join President Trump in supporting Alina García for Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections. I remain committed to working to serve my community and look forward to new opportunities to do so.”

Megan Pearl promised, if elected Supervisor of Elections, to keep Miami-Dade’s voting processes “organized and credible.” Image via Beighley, Myrick, Udell, Lynne & Zeichman, P.A.

Pearl, a University of Miami Law School graduate who previously worked as a Florida House staffer and a law clerk in the 11th Judicial Circuit, filed to run for SOE on Feb. 8. García entered the race 12 days later to make the Republican Primary a three-person contest with Ruth Swanson, a 2020 election denier who withdrew in late March after raising just $4,400 in nine months.

Pearl collected $9,100 in less than two months of running. García dwarfed that sum, stacking $165,000 in less than a month and a half thanks to ample GOP support, including $13,000 from political committees controlled by incoming House Speaker Daniel Perez and $6,000 from Miami Sen. Alexis Calatayud.

Former President Donald Trump left no question about whom he supports in the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections race this year. Image via Truth Social.

But the death knell for Pearl’s candidacy came April 30, when Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, and threw his sizable political influence behind García’s campaign.

“Alina Garcia has done an incredible job in the Florida State House, delivering lasting results for Florida families,” he wrote. “Now, Alina is running to be Miami Dade’s Supervisor of Elections, and will fight hard to secure our Elections and protect Voters’ Rights. Alina Garcia has my Complete and Total Endorsement — SHE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN!”

García, a longtime political operative, is running for SOE after just one term as a state lawmaker. Just before filing for the race, she told the Miami Herald that she decided to forgo seeking another two years in the House at the urging of Florida GOP leaders, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and state party Chair Evan Powers, who both endorsed her campaign.

For now, Alina García has a clear path to the Nov. 5 General Election. Image via Alina García.

Miami-Dade voters abolished several constitutional officers — including SOE, Tax Collector and Property Appraiser — through the 1957 adoption of the county’s Home Rule Charter, which delegated their power to the Miami-Dade’s top executive official, now the county Mayor, who now appoints people to those positions.

But in 2018, Florida voters — including 58% of Miami-Dade voters — approved a constitutional amendment requiring every county in the state to elect those officers, as well as a Sheriff, by Jan. 7, 2025.

The county’s appointed SOE, Christina White, is not running to keep her job.

Democrats in the SOE race include former state Rep. Juan Carlos “J.C.” Planas, consultant and former North Miami Chief of Staff Willis Howard, and Arnie Weiss, a tech entrepreneur and children’s book author who filed paperwork to run Friday.

Planas raised more than $77,000 between when he filed in July and March 31, the last date for which campaign finance reports were due. An unaffiliated political committee called Friends of JC Planas, which is supporting his campaign, still holds $500,000 that mortgage loan originator Eduardo Fernandez gave to it in September.

Howard, a well-established political player in Miami-Dade who worked as the strategic consultant for Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign in 2018, collected $44,000 between April 2023 and April 2024.

He told Florida Politics last month that he is the only authentic Democrat in the race. Planas switched parties following Trump’s attacks on voter rights and lies that the 2020 Presidential Election was rigged.

The Primary Election is on Aug. 20, followed by the General Election on Nov. 5.

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Anna Harden

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