Longtime Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle claimed victory Tuesday over her Democratic primary opponent, effectively clinching her sixth elected term because no balloted candidates oppose her in November.
“It’s about your record. It’s about your performance, the things you do every day working with victims in this community,” she told cheering employees Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. during a spirited gathering of supporters at Miami’s Renaissance Restaurant. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
With the majority of the precincts reporting late Tuesday, more than 60 percent of voters chose her over Miami defense attorney Rod Vereen.
Tuesday’s election capped a short but intrigue-filled campaign that featured a host of storylines: two surprise write-in candidates, a federal legal challenge against a decision to exclude 700,000-plus voters from participating and vitriolic attacks by the incumbent’s critics.
Under a 1998 constitutional amendment, all of Miami-Dade’s 1.3 million registered voters could have cast ballots for Fernández Rundle or Vereen because no Republican or independent filed to appear on the ballot.
But lawyers Michele Samaroo and T. Omar Malone filed to run as write-in candidates, which under a controversial secretary of state advisory opinion was enough to close the election to just 525,890 Democratic voters.