By Lidia Dinkova and Elizabeth De Armas
Hours after the polls closed on Tuesday night, Homestead voters were unsure of the identity of their next mayor.
But with all 16 precincts reporting, former Vice Mayor and Councilman Jeff Porter, 54, pulled ahead of his challenger, innkeeper Mark Bell, 57, a political newcomer.
Porter will succeed Steve Bateman, who was jailed in August on corruption charges and suspended by the governor, and then sought redemption by running for reelection. Bateman, who awaits trial on both felony and misdemeanor charges, lost to Bell and Porter in the first round of voting on Oct. 1.
Bell, married to former mayor and current Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell, waited out the results with about 60 supporters in downtown Homestead’s Hotel Redland, which he owns.