Miami-Dade voters went to the polls today to vote on a long ballot filled with primary battles for both federal and state level legislative races, and the first (and in some cases, possibly final) rounds of the county mayor race, and several county commission seats. Longtime Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle is also facing one of the toughest reelection bids of her career.
Perhaps most noteworthy however is that voters will decide whether to repeal the county's longstanding controversial ban on pit bull ownership. Join Riptide as we live blog the election results.
We'll fill in the winners of key races up at the top, and start updating the liveblog bellow when polling places close at 7 p.m.
Are pit bulls still banned in Miami-Dade: Yes
Miami-Dade Mayor: Carlos Gimenez
County Commission District 1: Barbara Jordan
County Commission District 3: Run-off: Audrey Edmenson vs Keon Hardemon.
County Commission District 5: Bruno Barriero is at 50.06%, which could lead to a recount. He would face Luis Garcia in a run-offf.
County Commission District 9: Dennis Moss
County Commission District 11: Run-off: Juan Zapata vs Manny Machado
Miami-Dade State Attorney: Katherine Fernandez Rundle
Miami Gardens Mayor: Olivier Gilbert
US House, District 26 Democratic Primary: Joe Garcia
Senate, Republican Primary: Connie Mack IV (duh)
Polls have been closed for an entire 10 minutes now, and we're still desperately awaiting results to come in. The good news: there apparently were no major voting snags today, though the Herald reports
a few instances of non-party affiliated voters seeking to vote in local elections facing confusion at the polls thanks to the partisan state and federal primaries. And, in case you're wondering where Republican Senate Primary frontrunner Connie Mack IV was today, he was, of course, visiting the Miami Dolphins
7:18: Absentee Ballot voting is now in:
- Almost 69% of absentee ballot voted "no" on the pit bull ban repeal.
- Incumbent Carlos Gimenez has 62% of the vote so far in the mayoral race.
- All incumbent commissioners have sizable, but not insurmountable leads so far. Though, many may have to face a run-off.
- Katherine Fernandez Rundle has a 65-34 lead in the State Attorney race over Rod Vereen.
- Joe Garcia meanwhile seems poised to make his third try as a democratic candidate for the US house with 61% of the absentee ballot vote.
7:28: Early voting results are now in, and there's no major shakeups, but Mayor Carlos Gimenez's lead is now down to about 58%. The question here isn't whether he'll get the most votes tonight (he definitely will) but whether he'll be able to avoid a runoff by getting more than 50%.
7:39: Here's the story on the county commission races, in case you've somehow missed it. Norman Braman, the moneybags behind ex-Mayor Alvarez's recall, is supporting a bunch of candidates to take on several incumbents: including Miami Garden Mayor Shirley Gibson (who welcomed the endorsement of a crazy anti-gay group) against Barbara Jordan, and Tea Party activist Alice Pena against Dennis Moss. The incumbents all have leads after early and absentee ballots, but it appears many of these races (which do include other candidates besides incumbents and Bramanites) could head to run-offs. Among the incumbents, Aubrey Edmenson has just 41% of the vote, Bruno Barriero has 52%, Dennis Moss has 54%, and Barbara Jordan has 58%. In District 11, Joe Martinez vacated the seat to run for Mayor. State Rep. Juan Zapata has the lead there with about 47%. Braman did not support a candidate in that race.
8:07: Voting in all of Florida has now closed. In the Republican Senate primary Connie Mack has only 58 percent of absentee and early votes (he's 77% in Miami-Dade). He's not in danger, but considering he didn't have a lot of competition that's interesting. Dave Weldon, who jumped in the race late and didn't have much money has 21%. Perhaps you can read into that as some indication there's portions of the GOP voting block that aren't totally in love with Mack. Meanwhile, Bill Nelson, the incumbent, has about 80 percent of his party's votes against someone no one has ever heard of. Incumbent House members of both parties in primaries against little known candidates are polling about the same or slightly worse, just for something to compare that number to.
8:15: The first election day ballots are trickling in with 57 of 829 precincts reporting. Though, that's not really shaking anything up just yet.
8:23: Here's some random elections nailbiters:
- Two current state reps looking to become state senators in the Democratic primary for district 39 (there's no Republican primary, so the winner will go to the senate) are in a close battle. Rep. James Bush III has 42%, Rep. Dwight Bullard has 38%.
- In State House district 100's Dem primary (again, Dem winner will take it all), Joseph 'Joe' Gibbons and Sheldon Lisbon are with in 50 votes of each other.
- 102 votes seperate Barbara Watson and John Patrick Julien in the District 107 Dem primary.
There's some close races out there, but perhaps not the most high profile ones.
8:50: No new numbers for almost half an hour now! I know! Though, in case you're wondering, the precincts that have reported election day numbers are pretty evenly distributed through out the county. So its not like the current numbers represent, say, all of the Hialeah vote and none of the Miami Beach vote. If anything votes right now are skewed in favor of early and absentee voters (which have come in county wide). We'll see if voters who went to the poll on election day will actually shake the results up and differ from early voters.
9:08: 547 of 829 precincts are in, so we can start officially making some calls on thins:
- The repeal of the pit bull ban has failed, with 64% right now voting against it.
- Olivier Gilbert is the next (and only second) mayor of Miami Garden with 63% of the vote right now.
- Katherine Fernandez Rundle will continue on as Miami-Dade State Attorney, a job she's held since 1993 when former Miami-Dade State Attorney Janet Reno became Bill Clinton's Attorney General.
9:22: Here's updates on the County Commission:
- Incumbent Aubrey Edmonson looks like she could be headed to a runoff, but NOT against Norman Braman's handpicked candidate Alison Austin. Instead she will likely face Keon Hardemon, who got the coveted Uncle Luke endorsement.
- Barbara Jordan, with 58%, looks like she'll avoid a runoff against Miami Gardens mayor Shirley Gibson.
- Bruno Barriero is at 51%. He could win outright, or face Luis Garcia in a runoff.
- Dennis Moss looks safe with just under 58% of the vote.
So much for Norman Braman's run as a political influencer.
9:39: Too no one's surprise Connie Mack IV is going to be the Republican nominee for senate, but lets look at Mack's results in Miami-Dade (so far) compared to all of Florida (again, so far).
Here's all of Florida:
Considering Mack had no real chance of losing this thing, its hard to view votes for others as anything other than a sign that some Republicans aren't quite that enamored with Mack. Yet, Miami-Dade GOP voters like Mack a whole lot more than Florida GOP voters at large. What's even more interesting that Marielana Stuart is 4th in all of Florida, but 2nd in Miami-Dade. Of course she's a conservative, hispanic, Catholic activist from neighboring neighboring Collie County who figured prominently in a Miami New Times feature
723 out of 829 precincts are now in. Lets make some more declarative statements, shall we?
- Carlos Gimenez will remain Miami-Dade's mayor and (despite some speculation otherwise) has avoided a runoff against County Commissioner Joe Martinez.
- Joe Garcia wins the Democratic nomination to face-off against Republican Rep. David Rivera in November.
- Rep. Frederica Wilson is headed to congress for a second term (She easily beat Rudy Moise in a primary and her district is heavily Democrat).
- Barbara Jordan has defeated Braman-backed Shirley Gibson to remain the Miami-Dade Commissioner of District 1.
- Dennis Moss will remain commissioner in District 9, beating another Braman-funded candidate.
10:00 The other, less-clear Commission races:
- Aubrey Edmonson will likely head to a runoff against Keon Hardemon, and not Braman-backed Alison Austin. Shows you how much the local media (and Norman Braman for that matter knows about the black vote in Miami-Dade).
- Bruno Barriero is only .12% over 50 percent in right now. He's facing Luis Garcia, a former Miami Beach Fire Dep't Chief. That could go either way, but a lot of the precincts that haven't reported are in Miami Beach, which may favor Garcia.
- Juan Zapata is at 48.13% in District 11. If he can't make it to 50% by the end of the night he'll face Manny Machado.
10:17 - Interestingly, Joe Martinez is not conceding to Carlos Gimenez (or more accurately, conceding that he won't make a runoff against Gimenez) just yet. We've called it, but we're kind of not quite so academic here. Just some common sense. We've looked at the areas each is doing better in. We've looked at the precincts that haven't reported yet. It's pretty hard to envision a way in which the vote percentages change dramatically at this point.
10:32 - Good news and bad news for the Diaz de la Portilla clan, one of Miami's biggest Republican political dynasties: Alex Diaz de la Portilla, the former Florida Senate Majority Leader, has one the Republican nomination for House District 112. His brother, School Board member has lost the Republican nomination for House District 103 to Manny Diaz Jr (who is not related to former Miami mayor Manny Diaz). Their other brother Miguel Diaz de la Portilla remains is a State Senate. So many Diaz de la Portillas, but apparently not enough legislative seats for them all.
11:50: According to various Tweets from reporters, John Rivera, the President of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, got on stage at Joe Martinez's election day gathering and accused Carlos Gimenez of some dirty politics and involvement in the ongoing absentee ballot scandal.
"If Carlos Gimenez was a man of integrity, he would tell the elections department, don't count the absentee ballots"he said according to WSVN's Twitter
We'd like to point out two things: 1) that would disenfranchise voters who legally voted using absentee ballots, and would open up the possibility of a lot of lawsuits and what not. So really, that's crazy talk. 2) Gimenez could still walk to victory and avoid a runoff even without absentee ballots. Right now he's at 49.45% with just election day and early voting. With just election day voting he's slightly above 50%. So, it is possible he could avoid a runoff even if absentee ballots weren't counted.
: All precincts are in. Results are up to. Full results can be found here
. We're peacing out. Goodnight.