The Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board is beginning work on a recount in the Senate District 37 race Tuesday, as just 31 votes separate the two candidates.
With 215,578 votes cast, Republican candidate Ileana Garcia leads Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez by a 104,616-104,585 vote margin. That’s a lead of just 48.53%-48.51%, which puts the difference well within the 0.5 percentage point window to trigger an automatic machine recount.
The recount had been scheduled to begin earlier this week, but worries about rain and flooding due to Tropical Storm Eta put a dent in those plans.
For Tuesday, county officials are looking to move through vote-by-mail ballots and votes cast on Election Day. On Wednesday, the county plans to review in-person ballots submitted during the early voting period.
Miami-Dade faces a Thursday deadline to complete its machine recount. A vote margin within 0.25 percentage points then requires a manual recount. The manual recount must be finished by Sunday, Nov. 15 at noon.
The process is going on at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department. Garcia is looking to improve on an already gangbusters night for Republicans in Miami-Dade County. Not only did Republican Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez easily win the Senate District 39 seat, Garcia may surprisingly pull off an upset over the well funded incumbent Rodríguez in SD 37.
The Rodríguez team has alleged foul play in the race, as non-party affiliated candidate Alex Rodriguez courted nearly 3% of the vote in the razor-thin race. The Senator’s team has accused Republicans of recruiting a spoiler NPA candidate — who shares a last name with the incumbent — as a way to siphon votes from the Democratic candidate.
Republicans, meanwhile, lobbed accusations that Democrats were interfering in the vote-curing process late last week, as a recount was on the horizon. A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Office said no such fraud claims had reached their office.
SD 37 spans portions of Miami-Dade County, including Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest.