Primary polls opened across Florida today, but voter turnout was not expected to be high, and the races pretty much seem decided already. The highest-profile incumbents running — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — are likely to score decisive victories.
Still, the stakes this year are pretty high. Wasserman Schultz is running to rehabilitate her political career and avoid going down as a person accused of rigging an entire presidential primary. Likewise, Rubio is running to avoid getting labeled as an also-ran in the Year of Trump.
On the local level, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez's contested fight for reelection against radio host and daughter-of-the-Mayor-of-Miami Raquel Regalado finally ends tonight. (We broke down today's five most interesting races here.)
Polls close at 7 p.m., but, due to the fact that Florida actually stretches across two time zones, polls in the panhandle won't close until 8. We'll be here reporting the results live as they come in.
Here are the races in play tonight — scroll below the table for live updates. (You can also follow me on Twitter @jerryiannelli.)
Republican: Incumbent Marco Rubio WINNER vs. Carlos Beruff
Democrat: Patrick Murphy WINNER vs. Alan Grayson
Libertarian: Augustus Sol Invictus vs. Paul Stanton WINNER
District 23, Republican: Marty Feigenbaum vs. Joe Kaufman WINNER
District 23: Democrat: Incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz WINNER vs. Tim Canova
District 24, Democratic: Frederica Wilson WINNER vs. Randal Hill
District 26, Democratic: Annette Taddeo vs. Joe Garcia WINNER
District 27, Republican: Incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen WINNER vs. David "Tubbs" Adams and Maria Peiro
District 27, Democrat: Scott Fuhrman WINNER vs. Frank Perez, Adam Sackrin
District 107, Democratic: Mary Estime Irvin vs. Barbara A. Watson WINNER
District 108, Democratic: Taj Collie-Echoles, Fayola Delica, Moise
District 112, Republican: Michael W. Davey vs. Rosa Maria Palomino WINNER
District 112, Democratic: Nicholas X. Duran WINNER vs. Waldo Faura-Morales
District 113, Democratic: David Richardson WINNER vs. Rey Valdes
District 114, Democratic: Daisy J. Baez WINNER vs. Alberto L. Santana
District 115, Democratic: Ross Hancock vs. Jeffrey Doc Solomon WINNER
District 118, Republican: Lynda Bell vs. Carlos Pria, David Rivera WINNER, Anthony Rodriguez, and Steven Tallon
District 120, Democratic: Kevin Diaz vs. Dan Horton WINNER
District 38: Anis Blemur vs.
District 40: Dwight Bullard WINNER vs. Andrew Korge
County Mayor: Incumbent Carlos Gimenez vs. Raquel Regalado RUNOFF
Commissioner, District 7: Incumbent Xavier Suarez WINNER vs. Michael Castro
Commissioner, District 9: Incumbent Dennis Moss WINNER vs. Earl Beaver
Commissioner, District 11: Joe Martinez WINNER vs. Felix Lorenzo
District 1: James Bush III vs. Steve Gallon III, Wilbert T. “Tee” Holloway RUNOFF
District 6: Modesto “Mo”
District 7: Aster Bato Mohamed vs.
Mayor: Oliver Gilbert WINNER vs. Ulysses “Buck” Harvard and Clara W. Johnson
Council Seat 1: Lillie Odom WINNER vs. Nathaniel Miller
Council Seat 3: Rodney Harris WINNER vs. John Zeigler
Council Seat 5: Kevin Brown vs. Raymond
11th Judicial Group 9: Jason Bloch vs. Marcia Del Rey WINNER
11th Judicial Group 34: Mark Blumstein RUNOFF vs. Renee Gordon RUNOFF, Denise Martinez-Scanziani, Luis Perez-Medina
11th Judicial Group 52: Rosy A. Aponte, Carol ‘Jodie’ Breece RUNOFF, Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts RUNOFF
11th Judicial Group 66: Robert Joshua Luck WINNER vs. Yolly Robertson
11th Judicial Group 74: Elena Ortega-
Group 5: Milena Abreu vs. Fred Seraphin
Group 15: Ruben Alcoba vs. Linda Luce WINNER
Group 35: Wendell Graham WINNER vs. Antonia Jimenez
Amendment 4: The Yes-4-Solar Initiative PASSED
11:19 p.m.: The county's two remaining mayoral candidates have already tried to spin tonight's mayoral primary results — which sparked a November runoff election — in their favor.
Gimenez, for one, Tweeted that he "won across all demographics" tonight, which is only true if you ignore the fact that Gimenez still isn't the Republican nominee for mayor.
Regalado, meanwhile, said at a rally tonight that "The people have spoken and they have rejected Carlos Gimenez." If you take Gimenez's results in a vacuum, sure, maybe you could argue that. But Regalado still earned significantly fewer votes than Gimenez did. If she's implying that voters "rejected" Gimenez, she'd then logically have to cede that voters surrounded her own campaign with pitchforks and kicked her out of town.
Here's to three more months of the county mayoral race!
10:55 p.m.: As one would expect, Twitter is less-than-pleased that Wasserman Schultz defeated Canova.
After the Debbie Wasserman Schultz win, it's time to do something we should have done a long time ago. pic.twitter.com/N07Blvqa32— laura4prez (@thusspokelaura) August 31, 2016
But the huge reaction online demonstrates the exact problem with the Canova
Likewise, the Atlantic today detailed how Our Revolution, one of the pro-Sanders groups that aimed to carry the presidential candidate's message "down ballot," failed to help Canova in any meaningful way:
Trying to unseat Wasserman Shultz was always going to be difficult. It’s also virtually impossible to boil down a political loss, or a win for that matter, to a single factor. Still, if Canova loses, that could be an early warning sign that Sanders’ revolution will take far more than raising money and endorsing candidates.
10:23 p.m.: With 98.83 percent of Miami-Dade reporting, we can now say with certainty that:
- Not a lot of you voted. Only 20 percent of registered voters in Miami-Dade (264,889 ballots out of a possible 1,307,473) actually went to the polls today.
- The county mayoral race is headed for a runoff. Though Carlos Gimenez claimed on Twitter that he "won" tonight, he only secured 47 percent of the county's vote, which means he and Regalado get to face off one-on-one in November. We've got three more months of infighting to endure.
- The famous faces are all safe. You can continue hating/liking the people you hate and/or like.
- Both Alan Grayson and wife Dena Grayson lost, embarrassingly.
- Broward County is not a hotbed for "Bernie Bros." Despite a gigantic email scandal hanging over her head, Wasserman Schultz won decisively tonight, thereby proving that Canova had, indeed, been propped up by Sanders fans living out-of-state. Just like everyone predicted.
- In Broward County, Judge Matthew Destry lost his bid for reelection. Destry was the subject of a New Times cover
story,after Destry repeatedly sentenced young, black drug offenders to outrageously long sentences. Longtime Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein called Destry's conduct and said that with Destry on the bench, justice had become "random" in Broward County. inhuman,
- Broward Sheriff Scott Israel also handily won his reelection bid.
- Voters don't Google. Scandal-plagued State Senate candidate Daphne Campbell and sex-hotel-owning judicial candidate Marcia Del Rey did well tonight, against all odds.
9:50 p.m.: We've now filled in most of the results tonight. (Oddly, most of the county judge elections are still quite close.) The only real surprise of the night so far is former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia's win against Annette Taddeo in District 26. Garcia barely eked out a win.
9:26 p.m.: The Miami Herald says Debbie Wasserman Schultz has defeated Tim Canova.
Can we talk about Tim Canova showing up to his election-night party to Barry White? https://t.co/5VASubcAoZ— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) August 31, 2016
9:24 p.m.: Looks like Rubio's already taking the stage to celebrate. He's apparently acknowledged the "unusual road" to tonight's win, which is certainly one way to put "I broke a huge promise I made to thousands of people."
9:20 p.m.: Libertarian Senate Candidate Augustus Sol Invictus, who looks like Mads Mikkelsen's character in Casino Royale and once admitted to drinking the blood of a goat during a ritual, has — for some reason — lost the Libertarian senate primary to Paul Stanton. Perhaps this is due to the blood-drinking, or because Invictus said he's cool with white supremacists and the concept of eugenics earlier this month. Your call there.
8:58 p.m.: Somehow, scandal-plagued State Rep. Daphne Campbell is in a slight lead for State Senate District 38, which we dubbed the "Flaming Tornado of Sadness" earlier today due to the complete lack of qualified candidates running for the job. Simply Googling Campbell's name returns the words "fraud trial," "IRS investigation," and "secretary arrested" on page one. Earlier this year, I called Daphne Campbell (she identified herself as Daphne Campbell), and asked her why she'd had 10 different foreclosure proceedings brought against her properties. Her response? "Wrong number."
She's sitting at about 30 percent right now.
8:53 p.m.: With 80 percent of districts reporting, here's a pretty handy breakdown of some major winners and losers:
- Carlos Gimenez is now down to 47 percent of the vote. If he doesn't hit 50, the results will trigger a run-off between the mayor and Regalado.
Spoke to a Regalado person, confident a run-off is coming. That was Regalado camp's goal.— Doug Hanks (@doug_hanks) August 31, 2016
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has cruised to an early lead and stayed there. As did Frederica Wilson, Xavier Suarez, Dennis Moss, and Wasserman Schultz. Voters overwhelmingly prefer the current cast of characters they've got.
8:46 p.m.: It looks like Tim Canova is getting stomped on as well. In total, he's losing 58 percent to 42 percent so far. Wasserman Schultz has 18,291 votes, to Canova's 13,267. Though the majority of District 23 lies in Broward County, the race is oddly close in Miami-Dade, where Canova is only losing by about 750 votes or so. (That's with 51 percent of Miami-Dade poll reporting.) Either way, it looks like Canova may already be a bit worried:
No matter what happens, we should all be proud of what we’ve accomplished in a short period of time. I couldn’t have done it without you.— Tim Canova (@Tim_Canova) August 30, 2016
8:24 p.m.: With 51 percent of Miami-Dade voters in:
- Carlos Gimenez only has 48 percent of the vote right now.
- Marco Rubio took 77,702 of a possible 87,160 votes
- Alan Grayson is in fourth in Miami-Dade behind Murphy, Keith, and "Rocky" de la Fuente.
8:19 p.m.: Thankfully, constitutional Amendment 4 — which gave some tax breaks to people who install solar panels on their properties — has passed, according to the Miami Herald.
8:12 p.m.: The Associated Press has also called the Democratic Senate race for Murphy. Grayson has been thoroughly trampled.
So, here's your 2016 Senate race, Florida. You immediately took back one guy who performed terribly in the U.S. Presidential race, no questions asked. Rubio couldn't string together three unique policy proposals to distinguish himself against Donald
Then, between a man who misrepresented himself to voters (Murphy) and a guy who's accused of beating his wife (Grayson), you certainly chose the lesser of two evils, but everyone involved is still a clown.
8:05 p.m.:The Associated Press has called the U.S. Senate Republican primary for Marco Rubio.
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7:58 p.m.: With 21 percent of precincts reporting, Rubio and Murphy are trouncing their next-closest rivals. And, for all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Grayson's campaign, he's barely maintaining second place. He's got 95,000 votes, to third-place challenger Pam Keith's 92,000.
7:45 p.m.: Gimenez, meanwhile, only scored 49 percent of the early-voting and absentee ballots, while Regalado sits at 32 percent right now. Gimenez needs to hit 50 percent to win outright.
7:13 p.m.: While we're waiting for results to come in, here's a quick reminder that one very important office in Miami won't be facing an election at all this year, let alone a primary. Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the longest-serving state attorney in Miami-Dade history, has already secured reelection this year, due to the fact that no one chose to run against her. State prosecutors set the tone for the way an entire city's justice system works — though Fernandez Rundle has not been particularly controversial during her time in office, her blind reelection has denied the city a much-needed debate on police shootings, mass incarceration, and the state attorney's role in criminal-justice reform.