Up to 33 votes: Ileana Garcia’s lead slightly widens after first day of SD 37 recount

Officials are expected to wrap the machine recount Wednesday before moving onto a manual recount.

Republican candidate Ileana Garcia now leads Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez by 33 votes after the first day of the Senate District 37 machine recount was completed Tuesday.

Garcia’s lead increased from 31 votes to 33 votes thanks to two overseas ballots that went toward Garcia.

The GOP challenger entered Tuesday’s recount with a razor-thin margin of 48.53%-48.51% over Sen. Rodríguez. That lead of 0.02 percentage points is well within the 0.5 percentage point window to trigger an automatic machine recount.

On Tuesday, county officials moved through vote-by-mail ballots and votes cast on Election Day. Officials plan to complete the machine recount phase Wednesday, ahead of the Thursday deadline. During Wednesday’s phase, workers will review in-person ballots submitted during the early voting period.

The process was originally scheduled to begin earlier this week, but worries about rain and flooding due to Tropical Storm Eta paused those plans.

Florida law requires a manual recount for races with a margin within 0.25 percentage points. The SD 37 race is within that window as well. A 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 pull off an upset over the well-funded incumbent Rodríguez in SD 37.

The Rodríguez team has alleged foul play in the contest, 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.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704