Early Returns from South Florida (Multiple 11pm Updates)

Most, but not all, of the returns are in for the Florida primaries and non-partisan elections, and there are some surprises:

(UPDATE) Incumbent Debbie Wasserman-Schultz beat Tim Canova by 14%: she got 28,250 votes and Tim Canova got a very respectable 21,476 votes.

Daisey Baz (D-114) romped in her primary for state rep, but Ross Hancock (D-115) cratered, which is a shame. Scott Fuhrman easily won the right to run into the Ileana Ros-Lehtinen buzzsaw.

(UPDATE) Marco Rubio won big in the Republican primary, and will face Republican Democrat Patrick Murphy. Pretty final tally is Murphy 59%, Grayson 18%, Keith 15%, Roque De La Fuente 5%, Reginald Luster 3%. It will be hard to vote for Murphy. Rubio makes it conceivable, though.

(UPDATE) One of the most exciting local races is the non-partisan Mayor’s race, where at 11pm with 760 of 783 precincts reporting, Mayor Gimenez has only 47.64% of the vote – not enough to avoid a runoff against Raquel Regalado (32.01%). That’s a surprisingly poor showing for him given his enormous financial edge.

And in FL-26, with all but 8 of the 197 precincts in, Joe Garcia is just edging Annette Taddeo by under 4% of the vote. It’s only an 800 vote gap which is a weak showing for Joe who nonetheless seems likely to be the one to go on to face the vulnerable one-term Republican incumbent. I hated this race as I like both candidates as people; on the issues Taddeo seemed a little better. On electability, I just don’t know; Joe has slightly longer roots in the district, which could be a help.

Judges

The judicial races are often odd and this year is no exception. Judge Bloch is losing – has almost certainly lost – to Marcia Del Rey in Circuit Court Group 9. He had a bad campaign, and filed (and is now appealing!) what seemed to me an ill-advised lawsuit, but she shows no sign of being qualified. This is the worst outcome of this set of judicial races by far.

The four-person race in Group 34 is clearly headed for a runoff, and Mark Blumstein (28.73% with 723/783 precincts counted) looks sure to be one of the candidates. The other three candidates are all very close to each other. At this moment, Luis Perez-Midina is ahead by 2,000 or so votes over Renee Gordon in the race for second place, which would mean the runoff would be between the people who I thought were the two less-attractive candidates in a strong field. The votes here were all split nearly evenly: 28.73%, 24.57%, 23.58%, 23.11%. I wouldn’t be shocked if someone asked for recount before it’s all over.

(UPDATE 11pm) No major changes here.  Blumstein 28.69%, Perez-Medina 24.53%, Renee Gordon 23.69%  The gap between the last two is almost 2000 votes, and only 23 precincts left.

In Group 52, Rosy Aponte, the worst candidate, lost but took a quarter of the vote, forcing the two good candidates (Breece and Rodriquez-Fonts) into a runoff. Whoever wins in November, we already won this one.

Judge Luck won re-election in Group 66, as did Judge Sarduy in Group 74.

In the County Court races, Judge Newman seems likely to have won re-election in Group 7; he’s ahead by 8,000 votes – which is about 3% of the votes counted so far– with 60/783 precincts to go. Judge Graham romped in Group 35. Linda Luce won even bigger in Group 15.

(UPDATE 11pm) But Group 5 is the nail-biter: at 11pm Milena Abreu has 49.87% and Judge Seraphin only 50.13% and the gap between them is 525 votes, with 23 precincts to go.

(UPDATE) Forgot to say, Amendment 4 passed overwhelmingly, with 74.22% of the vote at this point.  Of course now we have to fight the poison-pill of Amendment 1, which undermines solar power.  And if they both pass they arguably contradict each other in part — will the second in time prevail?

(UPDATE) Looks like a runoff for School Board District 6, as Maria Teresa ‘Mari Tere’ Rojas wasn’t quite able to buy the election, only getting 48.07% of the vote so far.  Although Modesto ‘Mo’ Abety is clearly second, he was very far behind with only 24.91% of the vote (87/90 precincts). But it’s a different electorate in November.

Meanwhile in the County Commissioner race for District 7, no surprise that Xavier Suarez took 72% of the vote.

(UPDATE 11pm) Only 23 precincts to go, and Judge Seraphin is ahead by 525 votes, a slight gain. But still close.

Bloch remains 9,000 votes behind Del Rey. Let’s hope the rumors are true and she is angling to be the next Judge Judy on TV.

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