All the ballots weren't counted, but Julio Robaina saw the writing on the wall.
The former Hialeah mayor conceded defeat to rival Carlos Gimninez in Tuesday's Miami-Dade mayoral election around 9:30 p.m. in front of a room full of disappointed supporters.
Less than a half-hour later, Robaina's feelings were cemented.
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Carlos Gimenez bested Robaina by about 4,300 votes, according to results on the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections website.
Gimenez won with just over 51 percent of the vote.
"We fell a little short," Robaina said. "I ask that ths community come together. We have a lot of issues that need to be resolved."
Hundreds of people at Gimenez's watch party hadn't heard about Robaina's concession speech and were still watching results come in thinking their candidate was still in a precarious situation.
But when the final numbers went up on a big screen monitor, the supporters erupted and streamers went up in the air. Gimenez was reportedly not at the party and opted to wait for results at his home in Coral Gables until he felt comfortable a result was near final.
He showed up at 10:25 p.m. and received a rock star's welcome.
"I am going to live up to my promises," Gimenez said. "We are going to reduce taxes, shrink government and restore faith (in county government)."
In May, Gimenez and Robaina emerged as the frontrunners to fight for the chance to succeed ousted mayor Carlos Alvarez.
The three elections - a recall, special and runoff - cost county taxpayers about $4 million each.
In the special election, Robaina collected the most votes, but a poll done by The Miami Herald showed Gimenez leading Robaina, 50 to 39, among likely voters in the runoff.
At the North Dade Regional Library on Tuesday, James White, 39, a county worker, went to vote.
"Out of the two, you have to weigh the difference. I can see where they stand," said White, who did not reveal his pick.
Both candidates went out of their way to distance themselves from Alvarez, who was booted from office in part for raising property taxes and supporting public funding for the new Florida Marlins Stadium.
“I did not like the policies of Carlos Alvarez,” said Gimenez. “My policies are going to be completely different than his and we're going to lead this county in a different direction.”
One of Robaina’s strategies has been to connect Gimenez to Alvarez.
“It's real simple,” Robaina said. “If you want the same that you've had the last seven years then I'm not your candidate, if you want the reforms this community has asked for, if you want fiscal responsibility than I want to be your mayor."