MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez cruised to victory in his battle with long-time commissioner Joe Martinez, but the race may be far from over.
With 100 percent of the ballot counted, Gimenez had 54 percent of the vote compared to Martinez’s 31 percent.
But things got quite rowdy as Martinez spoke to his supporters.
Martinez said he ran a clean campaign, “We did it legally.”
Then things took a turn when Miami-Dade Police union’s John Rivera took the mic asking to challenge the absentee ballots and said he wants them thrown out.
“This community deserves the election it elects or steals. If you want a government of fraud, Carlos Gimenez is your mayor,” Rivera said.
Martinez has not officially conceded the race as of 11 p.m. and will not as he considers a challenge on alleged absentee ballot fraud.
The race was between two candidates who were similar on a majority of issues.
Gimenez has been in office for a year, winning the seat after former mayor Carlos Alvarez was recalled in the wake of a controversial tax increase, and the unpopular Marlins stadium deal. Before that he served two terms as a county commissioner.
As Miami-Dade Mayor, Gimenez made good on his promise to roll back property taxes and reduce the size of government. He slashed the pay and benefits of county workers, including police officers. The unions are not among his supporters.
Both men are fiscally conservative, though differ in their management styles. Gimenez tends to micromanage. Martinez doesn’t believe the county’s strong mayor needs to oversee the day-to-day operations of 27,000 employees and a $7 billion budget.
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