MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami-Dade voters will have to go to the polls one more time to decide who will be the next mayor of the county.
In Tuesday’s special election none of the 11 candidates scored 50 percent of the vote for a clear win. A run off election will be held June 28th where voters will cast their ballots for two men who received the most votes; former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina (34 percent) and former county Commissioner Carlos Gimenez (29 percent).
Former State Representative Marcelo Llorente came in third with 15 percent of the vote. Midway through the evening he saw the proverbial handwriting on the wall and 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, came in fourth with 11 percent of the vote.
“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!”
Robaina and Gimenez will now look for endorsements from the other nine candidates. A mere 10 thousand votes decided Tuesday’s election which means anything can happen in the June run off election.
“We feel very, very positive from the amount of the votes that we received from the residents of this community,” Robaina told supporters Tuesday night.
Voter turnout in Robaina’s base of Hialeah was almost twice the county average of 15.9%. He hopes to translate that enthusiasm to the rest of the county for June’s run off:
“Now we work very hard to earn the confidence and vote of people who voted for other candidates and for those who didn’t vote,” said Robaina.
Gimenez believes that “What is going to make the difference in the run-off is honesty, integrity and experience. That’s what the people of Miami-Dade County are looking for,” adding that he will continue to campaign based on his 36 years of scandal free public service.
In following with this platform, Gimenez hopes to get endorsements from ousted candidates Llorente and Campbell.
“I think the voters that voted for them are probably going to be more aligned with the way I am. They were honest and they had integrity and they had a vision for Miami-Dade County. And that’s what I’m running on,” said Gimenez.
In the race for the Miami-Dade Commission District 13 seat, which was left open when voters tossed former commissioner Natacha Seijas out of office in a March recall election, former State Representative Esteban Bovo won the day with 73 percent of the vote in a 4 person race.
Voters who cast ballots in for the District 7 seat to Carlos Gimenez will have to wait to see who won. The results have been placed under seal while a drama over timely filing of candidate documents plays out in the courts.
In House district 110, where voters were replacing Esteban Bovo who resigned to run for a Miami commission seat, Jose Oliva edged out Frank Lago with 42 percent of the vote to win the race. Lago ended the night with 35 percent of the vote, Rafael Perez trailed with a respectable 23 percent of the vote.
Also on Tuesday, voters rejected five out of six county charter amendments.
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.
Voters also shot down a plan to create a charter review task force, with 60 percent voting no, a plan to require election petitions to have a sworn affidavit, 71 percent voted no, and one that would create an inspector general, 52 percent voted no.
One amendment that would prohibit lobbying after leaving county service ended the night in a dead heat, 50-50, with the yes votes leading by a margin of 151 votes. Elections officials said between 3,000 and 3,400 absentee ballots remained to be counted Wednesday.