Republican candidate Ileana Garcia now holds a 31-vote lead in the Senate District 37 contest as the candidates ready for a recount next week.
New vote totals show Garcia increasing her lead from 20 votes this morning to 31 votes out of 215,578 cast. She leads Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez by a 104,616-104,585 margin. That’s an edge of just 48.53%-48.51%, well within the 0.5 percentage point window to trigger an automatic machine recount.
A vote margin within 0.25 percentage points requires a manual recount.
The presence of non-party affiliated candidate Alex Rodriguez may affect the contests’ eventual outcome, as Rodriguez secured 2.96% support with 6,377 votes.
The newest updates come as the county wrapped up counting mail-in ballots and curing any issues with provisional ballots. The official totals are expected to be sent to the state over the weekend.
Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Christina White said her office expects the recount procedure to commence next week.
The County faces a Thursday deadline to complete its machine recount. The manual recount must be finished by Sunday, Nov. 15 at noon.
While Garcia increased her lead by 11 votes Friday, there hasn’t been consistent movement since Tuesday night’s election. One update put Garcia’s original 21-vote lead down to 18. The next bumped that back up to 20 before it rose again to 31 Friday.
The Democratic and Republican candidates have tussled over the vote-counting process. On Thursday, the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (FRSCC) released a letter accusing the Senator’s team of tampering with the curing process, though no evidence has emerged to support those claims.
“The Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections provided our attorney a list of the voters eligible to complete this process,” read a statement from the FRCC.
“While contacting these voters to inform them of their ballot status and their right to remedy their signature issue, voters have told our staff that representatives of the Republican Party had already visited them and taken their signed affidavits. Neither the Republican Party nor representatives of the Ileana Garcia campaign had contacted these voters prior to this.”
A Miami-Dade SOE spokesperson released a statement, however, saying, “The Elections Department is not aware of any issue.”
Democrats had hoped to pick up seats in the Senate Tuesday. But a dreadful performance statewide — and particularly in Miami-Dade County — not only prevented Democrats from gaining seats but may actually cost them the SD 37 contest pending the results of the recount.
SD 37 spans portions of Miami-Dade County, including Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest.