MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Tensions were high on election day for four Miami-Dade County Commission seats up for grabs. Two of the races have generated the most heat.
It was tight race for Lynda Bell and challenger Daniella Levine Cava who were competing for the District 8 Miami-Dade County Commission seat.
With all of the precincts reporting, Levine Cava won with 52 percent of the vote while Bell had 48 percent.
Bell won her seat in 2010 largely on a platform of no new taxes and fiscal conservatism.
She is a Republican while her challenger Levine Cava is a Democrat looking to unseat bell in Tuesday’s election.
While county commission races are bipartisan, Levine Cava had support from the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and public employee unions who in the past have backed Democrats. Meantime, Bell got some high-power GOP support at a fundraiser hosted by a Republican state lawmaker.
Over the course of the county commission race, the contest between the two turned from competitive to nasty with various ads on both sides attacking the other.
Bell supporters claimed in a video ad that Levine Cava paid herself a $500,000 salary as director of a non-profit foundation. The ad claims Levine Cava put money in her pocket intended to help the poor. Only in the smallest of small print does it note that the $500,000 was paid over a ten year period. Levine Cava averaged a salary of only $50,000, and one year imposed a pay cut on herself to make ends meet.
Bell said her campaign didn’t run the spot and she was not responsible for third party communications. But the spot was created by Bell’s main political support committee, Good Government Now.
Cava’s supporters also got into the game.
A flyer poses Bell with Governor Rick Scott and called her a Tea party Republican, an extremist with a record of discrimination against the gay community.
A video spot for Levine Cava also accused Bell of downplaying the need for cleaning up arsenic found on school grounds.
Also in the mix, the ethnicity card was pulled when a flyer producer by Good Government Now said Levin Cava listed her full name in order to “to appeal to Hispanic voters.”
“My legal, married name is Levine Cava. It’s on my passport. It’s on my mortgage,” Cava said.
Another ad from Bell’s camp claimed Levine Cava changed her home to run for office.
Levine Cava said she has lived in several cities during her three decades in Miami-Dade.
Levine Cava claims Bell has not improved the quality of life in district eight, which spans from Homestead through Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay and west into the Falls and The Crossing neighborhoods. She says Bell has catered to development-related interests, who comprise a large portion of her contributors.
Bell said she enjoys the support of business because she’s been good for business and the community.
Bell and Levine Cava debated the issues in a special half-hour edition of Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede.
According to our news partners the Miami Herald, it is believed to be the most expensive commission race in county history.
If Levine Cava beats Bell she’ll be only the third person in last 20 years to unseat an incumbent. A Levine Cava win will also usher in a new era in Miami-Dade politics where Democrats will turn county races into partisan affairs.
Another Miami-Dade County Commission race which generated some heat, was that of District 2, considered one of the county’s poorest.
The first Haitian-American Commissioner, Incumbent Jean Monestime,was in a rematch with Dorrin Rolle, the man he won against back in 2010.
With all precincts reportin their resutls Monestime won with 64 percent while Rolle was at 30 percent.
For real-time results click here
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