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Miami city attorney: runoff election will go on Nov. 17 with or without Sarnoff

@NewsbySmiley

UPDATE: Teresa Sarnoff says she plans to withdraw from the race Monday after the city attorney issues her opinion.

"I am going to be withdrawing and it's just waiting on the city attorney's opinion to make sure that our 'I's are dotted and our 'T's crossed," she said. "I like to do it by the law, not by the mayor."

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Miami will have a Nov. 17 runoff election to declare a new District 2 Commissioner regardless of whether Teresa Sarnoff withdraws from the race, according to Miami's city attorney. But, should she withdraw, none of the votes cast for Sarnoff would count.

That opinion, expected to be officially issued Monday by City Attorney Victoria Mendez, should bring some clarity to a confusing situation created Thursday when Sarnoff, the runner-up in the general election, announced she would suspend her campaign and support frontrunner Ken Russell. But it means Miami will spend $100,000 to hold an election in which only one candidate is campaigning, and votes for the other may be completely irrelevant.

"A symbolic election would probably be wasteful," said Russell, who continues to canvas neighborhoods and push for votes. "The voters need a clear decision so we can move forward without ambiguity and get started with the business of the city."

Sarnoff, who did not respond to a request for comment Saturday, has said she would decide whether to withdraw after receiving clarity on what the law says and how the city would react.

Mayor Tomas Regalado and Commissioner Francis Suarez asked for a legal opinion. Mendez told the two officials Saturday that there's nothing in the law that speaks to the cancelling of an election due to a candidate's withdrawal, and that Miami's charter demands that a candidate receive more than 50 percent of the vote to be elected. Russell received about 42 percent Tuesday.

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