It was nearly over before it started but by 9 p.m. last night Tomas Regalado's defeat of Joe Sanchez for mayor of Miami was a done deal.
Regalado beat fellow city commissioner Sanchez 72 percent to 28 percent, with all precincts reporting.
"Tonight we have received a mandate from the people of Miami and trust me, this is not a political slogan, this is going to happen," Regalado said from his victory party at the banquet hall at Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Church. "Change is coming to Miami."
Regalado ran his campaign on change, supporting a new police chief to replace John Timoney, a new management approach to the operation of the city and a new transparency in government.
Current county elected officials, including Barbara Jordan, Rebeca Sosa and Audrey Edmonson praised Regalado as the new mayor, as did city commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
"I'm very happy for the city of Miami, I think the people really get a good representative there and a person who listens and a person who has patience.
Regalado, 62, opposed huge public works projects like the new $600 million Marlins stadium, a project supported by Sanchez and criticized by voters.
"I feel this is a corrupt city and a lot of us have been feeling [this] for a long time, all the way from the top, all the way to the bottom," said Regalado supporter Richard Estrella.
"He has an impeccable background, very knowledgable and I think he's gonna do great for the city," said Regalado supporter Liana Exposito.
Regalado told supporters he'd received a call from Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who told him he wanted to meet with Regalado to discuss bringing stimulus dollars into Miami.
"I said 'Governor, you know, I can't wait for that meeting, bring it on,'" Regalado said.
Meanwhile, the defeated candidate, Sanchez, arrived at his campaign headquarters down the road shortly after 9 p.m. to speak with supporters, family and friends.
"And the winner today has been my opponent, Tomas Regalado, which I just called and I will call him in about 15 minutes to congratulate him on this great victory, him and his entire staff and his family," Sanchez said as supporters cheered him on.
For Sanchez, 44, it was a tough loss. The former Army reservist and state trooper was hoping to replace close friend and outgoing Mayor Manny Diaz.
"This city must go forward, that was our commitment. And I think everyone who labored so hard on my campaign had that vision, the vision to move this city forward, to bring prosperity to everyone - not just a sector of this community but the entire community," Sanchez said. "Let me tell you something, you have not heard the last from Joe Sanchez!"
Here are the final, unofficial tallies:
Regalado: 27,258; 72%
Sanchez: 10,773; 28%
Miami Beach Mayor
Bower: 5,663; 77%
Herman: 479; 6%
Levey: 1,229; 17%
Go to the Miami-Dade Elections website for complete results of all races.