MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina and former Miami-Dade commissioner Carlos Gimenez are headed for a June runoff to determine who will be the next Mayor of Miami-Dade county, while all but one of the charter amendments county commissioners hastily grafted onto this election fell victim to voter distrust.
Robaina jumped out to an early lead which he never lost, but as his numbers slowly eroded over the course of the evening, it was clear his 33% of the vote would be far short of the 50% plus one vote needed to win outright.
“We are extremely privileged to be able to go to the next round, and to be in first place,” Robaina told supporters after it was clear he would move forward. “That is a demonstration that our message, the campaign, the hard work that all of you put together, paid off this night, tonight it paid off!”
At #2 with 29% of the vote, Gimenez will face him in June.
“Nobody gave us a chance, really, when we started. We’ve gone 20 points up in the polls,” he said. “Our campaign is surging, our message is resonating, so we’re really happy.”
Trailing was former State Representative Marcelo Llorente, with 15% of the vote.
Midway through the evening Tuesday, Llorente threw in the towel.
“Although our campaign came in short tonight, I remain undeterred in my efforts to bring real reform to the community we call home,” he said in a statement issued by his campaign. “I firmly believe that our work to leave our children and grandchildren a brighter, more prosperous future does not begin and end with elected service.”
Former 2 Live Crew rapper Luther Campbell, who showed surprising strength in pre-election polls, started slow but saw his numbers improve during the evening, with 11% overall.
“I don’t like losing under no circumstances, I don’t like it,” he told supporters. “But this is just the beginning The individual has 18 months to prove himself. We could still run in 2012 and win this thing!”
None of the remaining 7 candidates earned more than 4% of the vote.
In House district 110, where voters were replacing Esteban Bovo, who resigned to run for a Miami commission seat, Jose Oliva had the edge over Frank Lago with 43% of the vote, compared to 34% for Lago. Rafael Perez trailed with a respectable 23%.
In Miami-Dade commission District 13, the seat vacated when voters tossed former commissioner Natacha Seijas out of office in the March recall election, former State Representative Esteban Bovo jumped out to a commanding lead, with 73 percent of the vote in a 4 person race. The lead never faltered throughout the evening, and he was easily elected.
Miami-Dade voters were asked to approve 6 amendments to the county’s home rule charter. 5 of the 6 failed, and the 6th passed by a a margin of less than 200 votes.
Amendment 1, a plan to limit commission terms to 12 years, failed with 71 percent of the voters saying no.. Amendment 5, which would have repealed the Strong Mayor position, also seemed to find little favor with the voters, with 63 percent voting no.
Dead is a plan to create a charter review task force, with 60% voting no, a plan to require election petitions to have a sworn affidavit, 71% no, and one that would create an inspector general, 52% no.
One amendment that would prohibit lobbying after leaving county service was in a dead heat, 50-50, with the yes votes leading by a margin of 200.
Billionaire businessman Norman Braman, the architect of the Mayoral recall election and advocate for charter reform, asked voters to reject these amendments as not going far enough to permit true reform, and voters seem to have listened.
Voters in commission District 7 cast ballots for a new commissioner to replace Carlos Gimenez, but the results have been placed under seal while a drama over timely firing of candidate documents plays out in the courts.
CLICK HERE for more information about the candidates and amendments.