FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Commissioner Dean Trantalis came tantalizingly close to winning the Fort Lauderdale Mayoral race on Tuesday night.
Late election results showed him capturing nearly 47 percent of the vote, more than 15 percent more than his nearest competitor, Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts.
However, because Trantalis fell short of a majority, the Mayor’s race in Fort Lauderdale heads to a runoff.
Trantalis took a lesson from Tuesday’s mayoral primary.
“The people of this community decided Dean Trantalis should be their mayor,” he told CBS 4 News.
Trantalis will face 2nd place finisher Roberts in a March runoff and Tuesday evening at his after-party at Thasos Greek Restaurant he offered a message to the Vice Mayor.
“I would encourage Vice Mayor Roberts to consider conceding,” he said, based on the margin of victory.
Roberts, however, made clear there’s no concession in his near future.
“I don’t give up,” he said succinctly.
Roberts, who won slightly more than 31% of the vote, said he’s looking forward to preparations for the runoff.
If elected, Trantalis says he wants to deal with a plethora of issues — homelessness, jobs, flooding, sea level rise and other problems. Both he and Roberts agree that fixing the city’s infrastructure — like broken sewage pipes that have caused a mess in local canals and sections of the Intracoastal Waterway is a major problem. Roberts said development is an issue he plans to tackle case by case.
“You have to manage it on a case by case basis,” Roberts said. “I think development is an important aspect of keeping a community dynamic and vital. Development helps pay for a lot of our infrastructure improvements.”
Trantalis takes it a step further, advocating a new vision for the city.
“We’ve got to rethink our passion for development in our city and make sure that the infrastructure and new investment works side by side so we can see growth but do smart growth,” he said.
Former City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom came in 3rd place, capturing about 22% of the vote.
Turnout was low. Of the 120,514 voters eligible to vote in this election, only slightly more than 15,000 cast ballots in the Mayoral race.
The runoff election will be held on March 13. The new mayor and commission will be sworn in on March 20.