Several key South Florida positions up for grabs in today’s election

LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade mayor, Broward sheriff and several House of Representatives seats are just a few of the positions up for grabs in Tuesday’s primary election.

Voters have been making their way to the polls all day, ready to voice their choice. “I want to have an opinion about, you know, our state representatives, and our congressman and our county judges and you know, everybody else and what they do and how they get there,” said voter Dennis Parces. “I have to exercise my right to vote.”

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Incumbent Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez goes up against six other candidates, with his main competition coming from Raquel Regalado – daughter of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado – and Alfred Santamaria. Both may take away votes from Giménez, forcing the race into a runoff election in November.

When asked how confident he was of winning, Giménez said, “Pretty confident, but you know, at the end of the day, it’s the voters who decide. You know, at 6:30, I’ll start getting butterflies in my stomach just like I did before, when I used to play basketball in high school and college, and I used to get butterflies in my stomach before the game, even though we thought we were going to win.”

Regalado said, Tuesday, she hopes the negative attacks during the campaign don’t keep voters away from the polls.

“It hasn’t been easy, not just because he’s an incumbent, but he’s also spent over $6 million,” Regalado said. “This has been the most expensive campaign in the history of Miami-Dade County, and it’s also been the most negative campaign in the history of Miami-Dade county, so I hope that doesn’t keep people away today.”

Santamaria said he is the candidate for voters who want change.

“Nobody understands why the fourth largest budget in the nation is also the county with the highest level of poverty, and 50 percent of our community is making minimum wages,” said Santamaria. “People want change.”

Democrats Joe Garcia and Annette Taddeo both aim to take Carlos Curbelo’s spot as the U.S. representative from Florida’s 26th congressional district.

“We’re very excited, very hopeful that we’re going to be victorious in this primary, and that’s why we’re not leaving any stone unturned,” said Taddeo. “We want every single person to get out and vote.”

In Florida’s 24th congressional district, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson is going up against former football player Randall Hill. Wilson is a longtime educator, while Hill is a law enforcement veteran. Both have stated their main focus is the economy.

In Broward County, Debbie Wasserman Schultz faces Nova University Law Professor Tim Canova for Florida’s 23rd congressional district seat. Wasserman Schultz is expected to face a tough battle, after leaked emails forced her to step down as the Chair of the Democratic National Party.

Canova was up bright and early Tuesday, as he also headed to the polls. “Our campaign is a lot different, we don’t take any money from any corporate interests, none of their PACs or super PACs, and it leaves us free to represent the people,” he said. “I’m very confident. We have a lot of momentum. We’ve got hundreds of volunteers and field workers, field organizers, who have been pounding the pavement for weeks, actually, knocking on 10,000 doors a week, so it’s a great grassroots campaign.”

Wasserman Schultz said, “When I’m walking around this district and living and raising my family in this community, people are focused on how you can improve their lives, and I just want to continue to be able to be not only their vote but their voice.”

In the senate races, Marco Rubio faces Carlos Beruff, with the winner facing Patrick Murphy or Alan Grayson. Despite the Tuesday election, Rubio and Murphy have already started running ads for the general election in November.

In the 26th Congressional District, Republican Carlos Curbelo is trying to hold off Democratic challengers Annette Taddeo and Joe Garcia.

The role of Broward County Sheriff sees four competitors: incumbent Scott Israel, James Fondo, Willie Jones and Edison Jules.

Election officials said they have seen good turnout in terms of early voting and mail-in ballots, leading them to believe Tuesday will be the same. “Those two procedures have gone extremely well, and we got record numbers participating in both,” said Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, “so I’m looking for record numbers again, today.”

Between mail-in voting and early voting there are more than 115,000 people that have voted in Broward County and 170,000 in Miami-Dade County.

The Fourth Amendment will also be on the ballot, Tuesday, where voters will decide if property owners should get a tax break for installing solar panels.

Polls opened Tuesday at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

For sample ballots in Miami-Dade, click here.

For voting information in Broward County, click here.

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