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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The signs still stand in front yards around the City of Miami, but the District 2 candidate, whose name they display, has quit the race.
“I looked at the numbers from the election results and I did not see a path there to win,” Teresa Sarnoff told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
Sarnoff was as surprised as anyone, that despite her name recognition as the wife of the longtime sitting commissioner and a well-funded campaign, she was beaten in the general election by political newcomer Ken Russell.
“The polls did not indicate this at all,” said Sarnoff.
Russell garnered roughly 41 percent of the vote to Sarnoff’s 24 percent, sparking an automatic runoff election because neither got more than 50 percent of the vote.
Shortly after the election, Sarnoff said she planned to concede – and late Monday afternoon she submitted her official letter to the city attorney withdrawing from the race.
She said it has nothing to do with her husband’s political future, and instead is about saving tax dollars and a district from turmoil.
“To me, the best choice was to avoid putting Miami, putting District 2 through this battle,” she said.
But it’s still not clear whether the election will have to continue, even without an opposing candidate. The city attorney is reviewing election law and the charter.
Russell, who made his name fighting to remove all the toxic soil from Merrie Christmas Park in Coconut Grove, was thrilled by his win but told Zea he wants it fair and square.
“I was relieved to hear it, but for me it was more important that the process is followed,” said Russell.
He said he wants to save the estimated $100,000 cost of a runoff election, but is leaving it to the lawyers.
“A waste of money is never a good thing. I just want to make sure we have a clear mandate,” he said.
CBS4 News spoke with Coconut Grove voters who said they know where they stand.
“If she doesn’t want to continue I don’t see the need for a vote,” said District 2 resident Sarah Maruk.
Fellow Coconut Grove resident Caroline Cashion agrees.
“Why spend the money for a runoff when she doesn’t want to be on the ticket?” she said.
As it stands now, the runoff election is set for November 17th.
To read City Attorney opinion click here.