MIAMI, FL — With all precincts accounted for, Daniella Levine Cava and Esteban Bovo won the right to face off in a Nov. 3 runoff election to decide who will become the next mayor of Miami-Dade County.
"We are celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage," Cava told supporters Tuesday night in Florida's most populous county of 2.8 million. "We're on the verge of making history again, this time to elect the first woman to be mayor of Miami-Dade County."
Polls throughout Florida closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday after heavier than normal turnout, possibly even equal to a presidential election, according to election officials.
Incumbents Charlie Crist, Donna Shalala and other members of Congress learned who they will face in the Nov. 3 general election while others like central Florida Republican Ross Spano suffered an upset at the hands of a fellow Republican.
"As of 11 a.m. we had more than 24,000 people who had already voted between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.," shared Robert Rodriguez, assistant deputy supervisor of elections in Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami and Miami Beach. "The amount of voter mail ballots that were requested were on par with presidential elections what we'll see in November."
Voters chose a number of important elected offices, including congressional seats, county commissions, state attorneys, sheriffs and mayors among others.
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Coronavirus fears and the convenience factor were likely to have driven more than 2.77 million Floridians to vote early, either by mail or at one of the state's early voting locations, according to data released by the state Division of Elections as of Tuesday morning.
Ballots were mailed to the president and first lady Melania Trump at the Mar-a-Lago resort, which Trump lists as his legal address in Palm Beach County. The first couple previously voted by mail for the presidential preference primary in March, according to records.
In Miami-Dade, Bovo and Levine Cava — both longtime members of the Miami-Dade County Commission on opposite ends of the political spectrum with Bovo a Republican and Levine Cava a Democrat — were vying to replace Carlos Gimenez, who is term limited in the nonpartisan post.
The top two candidates on Tuesday were to face off again on Nov. 3 unless one candidate received 50 percent plus one vote on Tuesday, something that did not happen.
Former Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas and Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez, a former city of Miami mayor, also vied for the mayoral post along with political newcomers Ludmilla Domond and Monique Nicole Barley.
With all 860 precincts reporting, Levine Cava had 28.58 percent and 119,946 votes compared to 29.48 percent for Bovo, and 122,039 votes.
Penelas had 24.52 percent and 102,152 votes followed by Suarez with 10.56 percent and 43,762 of the vote. Barley had 5.45 percent and 22,789 votes while Domond had 1.25 percent and 5,216 votes.
Gimenez, the current Miami-Dade mayor, handily won his bid to become the Republican nominee for Omar Blanco. He will take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell on Nov. 3 for a seat that includes parts of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.against fellow Republican
Gimenez had 59.96 percent and 29,257 vote scompared to 40.04 percent and 19,547 votes for Blanco. Interestingly, Gimenez earned a higher percentage of the vote in Monroe County — 64.04 percent — than he did in Miami-Dade, where he drew 59.08 percent.
Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, ran a close race against Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert for the Miami-Dade District 1 Commission seat.
Gilbert had slightly less than a 1 percent lead against Fulton with 50.49 percent and 17,179 votes compared to 49.51 percent and 16,848 votes or a difference of 331 votes.
In Florida's 21st Congressional District, which includes Mar-a-lago, Republican voters chose self-described Jewish conservative investigative journalist and activist Laura Loomer to face incumbent Democrat Lois Frankel in November.
Frankel easily beat fellow Democrat Guido Weiss by a margin of 86.4 percent and 69,429 votes to 13.6 percent and 10,926 on the Democrat side.
President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Loomer. "Great going Laura," he said. "You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet."
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony claimed victory in his Democrat primary against predecessor Scott Israel who was relieved of duty after the Parkland massacre. Tony got 37.35 percent or 79,446 votes while Israel got 35.14 percent and 74,738 votes.
Tony replaced Israel when the former sheriff was suspended by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his handling of the 2017 mass shooting in the baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the 2018 Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.
Tony’s drew criticism for failing to disclose that in 1993 he fatally shot an 18-year-old when he was 14 in Philadelphia. While he was not convicted of a crime, he did not disclose the shooting.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will take on Republican Anna Paulina Luna to hold onto his 13th congressional district in the November election based on Tuesday's primary.
Luna had 36.14 percent and 22,930 votes compared to 28.46 percent and 17,963 for Makki and 25.81 percent and 16,366 for Buck.
Trump also wasted little time throwing his support behind Luna.
"Great win Anna," the president tweeted. "Watched your race from beginning, very impressed. Your next opponent, Charlie Crist, is a Pelosi puppet who is bad on crime, our military, vets, and Second Amendment. You have my complete and total endorsement."
The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into possible campaign finance violations involving Spano.
“Politically, ideologically we’re pretty close on the issues, but with the ethics and the investigations hanging over him it just really made the seat vulnerable, and that was my concern,” said Franklin. “This has been a conservative, strong conservative seat, for decades and I was fearful of that seat being flipped in November.”
Franklin, a Lakeland commissioner and former Navy pilot, received 51.23 percent 30,718 votes compared to 48.77 percent and 29,240 votes for Spano.
On the Democrat side, Cohn received 40.99 percent and 21,060 votes compared to 33 percent and 16,953 votes for Hattersley. Philippe got 26.01 percent and 13,365 votes.
Keith got 79.85 percent and 52,121 votes compared to 20.15 percent for Vazquez.
Mast faced Nick Vessio in the Republican primary. Mast got 86.03 percent and 61,750 votes compared to 13.97 percent and 10,024 votes for Vessio.
Incumbent Republican Francis Rooney chose not to seek re-election to his 19th congressional district seat in November.
There were a a number of candidates looking to take his place, including Republicans Dane Eagle, Dr. William Figlesthaler, Byron Donalds, Heather Fitzenhagen, For Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, Dan Severson, Darren Aquino, Casey Askar and Christy McLaughlin. The Democrat primary features Cindy Banyai against David Holden . Independent Antonio Dumornay was also running for the post.
Donalds received 22.6 percent and 23,480 votes compared to 21.85 percent and 22,706 votes for Eagle. Askar got 19.99 percent 20,770 votes while Figlesthaler got 18.35 percent and 19,070 votes. On the Democrat side, Banyai received 57.55 percent and 28,749 votes compared to 42.45 percent and 21,202 votes for Holden.
Salazar received 79.04 percent and 39,626 votescompared to 10.98 percent and 5,493 votes for Molina. Fiol got 9.99 percent and 5,007 votes.
Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho decided to give up his 3rd congressional district in north central Florida, opening the door to a wild Republican primary.
Cammack received 25.23 percent and 21,673 votes compared to 19.99 percent and 17,173 for Sapp, 15.27 percent and 13,116 votes for Rollins and 14.11 percent and 12,121 for St. George.
Christensen received 34.49 percent and 21,057 votes compared to 33.21 percent and 20,278 votes for Wells and 32.3 percent and 19,717 votes for Dodds.
All election results from Tuesday were considered unofficial until certified.
Since Florida is a closed primary state, only voters who were registered members of the respective political party's candidates were able to vote for candidate nominees unless all the candidates had the same party affiliation and the winner will not face any opposition in the general election, or if the race is considered nonpartisan, such as judicial and school board offices.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.