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Miami-Dade hopefuls campaign down to the wire

The intense, condensed campaign to elect a new Miami-Dade County mayor for a short sprint of a term ended Monday, and both Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez spent the final hours of the contest crisscrossing Greater Miami to make a last pitch to voters.

Following a live appearance Monday on Telemiami, a Spanish-language television station, Gimenez stood in front of Allen’s Drugs at a busy Bird Road intersection to wave at drivers. Quite a few honked back — including a small truck whose horn blared the sound of a whinnying horse and the Tarzan yell. Another motorist leaned out of her car and hollered in Spanish at the former county commissioner, “That’s the mayor — that’s the man!”

Robaina, campaigning down to the wire, made stops that included pressing the flesh with residents on Miami Beach and Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. At Domino Park along Calle Ocho, with TV cameras looking on, Robaina extended his hand to elderly Cuban men in baseball caps who hunched over domino games in the midday heat. Robaina said he felt confident, but predicted the horserace with Gimenez would be a dead heat, saying get-out-the-vote efforts will be key. “It’s going to be very close. That’s why every vote counts.’’

Tuesday night’s results will end a period of political upheaval triggered by the March recall of Carlos Alvarez as county mayor and the subsequent campaign to pick a replacement. But the winner of the race will be quickly thrust into a tumultuous, politically charged environment. Full story here.