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Rubio party rocks; Rivera leads Garcia in absentees

Republican David Rivera's campaign is set up in a ballroom at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, eagerly awaiting election results.

By 7:20 p.m., absentee ballot numbers showed Rivera comfortably ahead of Democrat Joe Garcia, which had Rivera supporters were talking animatedly.

"We killed them in the absentees," Rivera campaign manager Javier Correoso said. "I think the absentee ballots showed a message: We had a very aggressive ground game operation with a lot of volunteers."

The few dozen people in the ballroom for Rivera paled in comparison to what was unfolding outside, as hundreds of Marco Rubio supporters cheered in the hotel courtyard as the results for the U.S. Senate race flashed on Fox News. Also at the Rubio party: a stage with a band playing live salsa music.

--MELISSA SANCHEZ

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