MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The voters have spoken in Miami Beach as to who they would like as their next mayor but the result is too close to call.
Philip Levine came out on top with 5,630 votes or 50.48 percent of the vote. He needed 50.5 percent of the vote to win the election outright.
Tuesday night took to the stage and told his supporters “Let me say this. This is the most humbling night of my entire life.”
Michael Gongora came in with 4,069 votes or 36.32 percent of the vote.
Christie White with the county’s election department said the next step will be to determine how many provisional ballots they have for the city. Voters have until Thursday at 5 p.m. to provide proof their provisional ballot should be accepted. She said the provisional ballots will be counted on Friday.
If there is a machine recount, which White said is likely to happen, it will determine if Levine is indeed the winner or whether there will be a run off with Gongora.
Looking ahead, Levine told his supporters Tuesday night after the polls closed that when he is declared the winner, there is still more work to do including filling open commission seats.
“There are some very important runoffs. And what I say to you all tonight is please stay involved over the next two weeks so we can complete the change we need to do on Miami Beach,” said Levine.
Across town Gongora’s base was holding out hope, but even Gongora admitted the odds were likely against him.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with the results. But thinking about realistically after the fact when somebody spends millions of dollars compared to the couple of hundreds of thousands of dollars that we had to spend it’s not unexpected that the results would come out this way,” said Gongora.
According to Gongora he was outspent 10 to 1, perhaps making this mayoral election the most expensive in the Island’s history.
“It’s all about the money. I think we learned a lesson in this race. As optimistic and hopeful as we are when somebody is spending millions of dollars in attempt to buy the mayor’s seat in a small town it’s hard to compete with that,” said Gongora.
Comedian turned politician Steve Berke came in with a little over 12.13 percent of the vote. His dreams of creating a sky link from the beach to Miami went down with his campaign. The final candidate, Raphael Herman, ended up with just .96 percent of the vote.
Another race which was closely watched in the city was for the Commission Group III seat. The race pitted outgoing Mayor Matti Herrera Bower against retired banker Joy Malakoff, an inexperienced challenger.
Bower received 44.19 percent of the vote (4,565 votes) while Malakoff ended up with 40.29 percent (4,162). They face off in a runoff election on November 19th.
There will also Mickey Steinbery and Elsa Urquiza will face off in a runoff election for the Commission Group I seat and Jorge Exposito will face Michael Grieco in a runoff election for the Commission Group II seat.