MIAMI, FL — With 820 out of 860 precincts reporting, Daniella Levine Cava and Esteban Bovo appeared to be headed to a Nov. 3 runoff election to decide who will become the next mayor of Miami-Dade County.
“We are celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage,” Cava told supporters Tuesday night as the votes showed her nearly tied with Bovo in Florida’s most populous county of 2.8 million. “We’re on the verge of making history again, this time to elect the first woman to be mayor of Miami-Dade County.”
Polls throughout Florida closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday after heavier than normal turnout, possibly even equal to a presidential election, according to election officials.
Incumbents Charlie Crist, Donna Shalala, and other members of Congress are waiting to see whom they face in the Nov. 3 general election.
“As of 11 a.m. we had more than 24,000 people who had already voted between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.,” shared Robert Rodriguez, assistant deputy supervisor of elections in Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami and Miami Beach. “The amount of voter mail ballots that were requested were on par with presidential elections what we’ll see in November.”
Voters chose a number of important elected offices, including congressional seats, county commissions, state attorneys, sheriffs, and mayors among others.
Coronavirus fears and the convenience factor were likely to have driven more than 2.77 million Floridians to vote early, either by mail or at one of the state’s early voting locations, according to data released by the state Division of Elections as of Tuesday morning.
Ballots were mailed to the president and First Lady Melania Trump at the Mar-a-Lago resort, which Trump lists as his legal address. The first couple previously voted by mail for the presidential preference primary in March, according to records.
In Miami-Dade, Bovo and Levine Cava — both longtime members of the Miami-Dade County Commission — were vying to replace Carlos Gimenez, who is term-limited.
The top two candidates on Tuesday were to face off again on Nov. 3 unless one candidate received 50 percent plus one vote on Tuesday, which was unlikely.
Former Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas and Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez, a former city of Miami mayor, were also vying for the mayoral post along with political newcomers Ludmilla Domond and Monique Nicole Barley.
With 820 of 860 precincts reporting, Levine Cava had a 28.6 percent of the vote compared to 29.45 for Bovo.
Penelas had 24.53 percent followed by Suarez with 10.53 percent. Barley had 5.43 percent while Domond had 1.24 percent.
Gimenez, the current Miami-Dade mayor, is vying to become the Republican nominee for Florida’s 26th Congressional District against fellow Republican Omar Blanco. The winner of Tuesday’s primary will take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell on Nov. 3.
Gimenez was leading with 59.97 percent of the vote compared to 40.03 percent for Blanco.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will take on the winner of Tuesday’s primary to hold onto his 13th congressional district in the November election.
There were five Republicans vying to take on Crist in the general election: George Buck, Sheila Griffin, Anna Paulina Luna, Amanda Makki, and Sharon Barry Newby.
Luna had 35.99 percent of the vote compared to 28.46 percent for Makki and 25.81 percent for Buck.
In central Florida, incumbent Ross Spano took on fellow Republican Scott Franklin on Tuesday to defend his seat in Florida’s 15th congressional district. Vying for the Democrat nomination were Alan Cohn, Adam Hattersley, Jesse Philippe, and write-in candidate Kel Britvic.
Franklin was ahead with 51.3 percent of the vote compared to 48.7 percent for Spano.