Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who needed 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff in November, received 54 percent to challenger Joe Martinez's 31 percent Tuesday. "For me now, it's about the future, the next four years," Gimenez said.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez was re-elected for four more years Tuesday, defeating County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez by a comfortable margin.
Gimenez, who needed 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff in November, received 54 percent to Martinez's 31 percent. None of the other five other candidates had more than 6 percent with all 829 precincts reporting.
It will be the first full term for Gimenez, who was elected last year to replace ousted mayor Carlos Alvarez.
"For me now, it's about the future, the next four years," Gimenez said in his victory speech.
He said he ran to create "a better quality of life for our children and our grandchildren." He also said that part of his job is to sell Miami-Dade County to businesses to set up shop here.
"We’re going to start creating a government that is competent, transparent and honest, so we can create the base for the creation of what I know will be the next great city of the 21st century, Miami and Miami-Dade County," he pledged.
Martinez didn't concede earlier in the night, telling hundreds of supporters at the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant, "For right now, this isn’t over, we’re still in this race."
Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate race, Republican Congressman Connie Mack IV will face incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson in November after both easily won primaries Tuesday.
Nelson captured 79 percent of the vote against Glenn Burkett, while Mack had 59 percent in his contest, which also included Dave Weldon and Mike McCalister. Both Mack and Nelson were heavy favorites in the primaries.
Mack will try to win back the seat once held by his father, Connie Mack III. The younger Mack, who is married to California Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, was buoyed by the famous name he shares with his great-grandfather, the Hall of Fame baseball manager.
He celebrated his victory with his family in Coral Gables, while Nelson was at his Orlando campaign headquarters.
"The most important thing that we can do in Florida is to make sure Mitt Romney is the next president of the United States and that he has a Senate that will stand with him to make sure that we repeal Obamacare," Mack said.
In Miami-Dade, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle defeated attorney Rod Vereen in the Democratic primary. With all 829 precincts reporting, Fernandez Rundle took 60 percent of the vote.
She'll face two write-in candidates, Omar Malone and Michele Samaroo, in November as she runs for a new term. Fernandez Rundle has been state attorney since 1993.
Meantime, Miami-Dade voters kept in place the county’s ban on pit bulls Tuesday. With all 829 precincts reporting, 63 percent voted to keep the ban intact.
Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson won her party's nomination for a new term in a primary over Rudy Moise.
Wilson had 66 percent of the vote compared to 34 percent for Moise, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
Christina White, the deputy supervisor of elections in Miami-Dade, said there were no issues at polling places.
"We've had a very smooth Election Day," she said in the late afternoon.
Over 125,000 people already voted between absentee ballots and early voting before Tuesday, she said.
In addition to the mayoral race, there are county commissioner races in six districts, one school board race and a property appraiser race.
In Miami Beach, 67 percent of voters supported an increase of up to a penny in the city's resort tax on room rent. That will fund major improvements to the Miami Beach Convention Center, The Miami Herald reported.
Fernandez Rundle's counterpart in Broward, State Attorney Michael Satz, bested Chris Mancini in the Democratic primary. He had 62 percent of the vote with all but one precinct reporting.
Howard Forman, the clerk of the circuit court in Broward since 2001, claimed victory in the Democratic primary over Robert Lockwood. Forman took 71 percent of the vote, with just a single precinct left to report.
"I'm 13-for-13 [in] elections for this position so far," he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
With so many seats up for grabs, voter Oscar Gomez agreed that the ballot can be dizzying.
"And some of the names aren't that recognizable and so forth, but I just want to be involved,” he said.
Scott Israel defeated Louis “Louie” Granteed in the Democratic primary for Broward sheriff, taking 67 percent of the vote with all but one precinct reporting. Israel will now challenge Sheriff Al Lamberti, a Republican, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Voter turnout in Miami-Dade County was 19.5 percent, and in Broward County it was 10.4 percent, according to their election departments' websites.
Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a spokeswoman for the Broward County supervisor of elections, said early Tuesday evening that no voters had been turned away and everything was going according to plan at the polls.
The Herald reported about a few voters in the two counties who complained about confusion from poll workers about their party affiliations and ballots.
In north Florida, an elections official had a poll worker take a hammer to bust out a window so his staff could break into a country club.
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho directed the worker to break the window after country club employees did not show up as planned early Tuesday so officials could set up voting machines. Sancho said voters were delayed 10 to 15 minutes but no one left before voting – and said his office would pay to replace the window.
Lois Frankel won a Democratic primary in the 22nd Congressional District, taking 61 percent to Kristin Jacobs' 39 percent.
Karen Harrington won a five-way primary in district 23 with 48 percent of the vote. That sets her up to take on Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, in November.
Democrat Joe Garcia beat three other candidates for his party's nomination in district 26, garnering 53 percent of the total. That sends him to a general election rematch with Republican Congressman David Rivera, two years after Rivera defeated him by 10 points.
Democratic Senator Nelson, who is seeking a third term, has already hit Mack with a negative ad that points out trouble Mack got into in his 20s with a bar fight, an arrest and road rage incidents. Former Senator George LeMieux used that attack repeatedly before he dropped out of the primary in June.
For his part, Mack has attacked Nelson as a "lockstep liberal" who supports President Barack Obama's major policies, including health care reform, and criticized him for trying to make the campaign about "what I did as a kid."