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Democrat finishes first in Miami-Dade as Higgins and Barreiro advance to June runoff


Via @doug_hanks

Newcomer Eileen Higgins rode a wave of support from the Democratic Party to take first place in Tuesday's election to replace Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro and will face the former commissioner's wife, Republican Zoraida Barreiro, in a runoff election next month for the non-partisan seat. Both candidates eliminated former state senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla, who finished third. 

With all precincts reporting shortly before 9 p.m.. Higgins held nearly 35 percent of the vote, followed by Barreiro at 33 percent, with 222 votes separating them. Diaz de la Portilla was in third with 27 percent, followed by former television actor Carlos Garin with less than 5 percent.

With no candidate crossing the 50 percent threshold, the top two finishers advance to a June 19 runoff, setting up a four-week contest to decide who will represent a district that includes Little Havana, South Beach and parts of downtown Miami.

The results delivered a big win for local Democrats as party support for a first-time candidate helped push Higgins ahead of candidates with two well-known names in local politics. Strategists on both sides of the aisle portrayed the strong showing by the lone Democrat in the race as evidence that a "blue wave" that has lifted Democratic candidates in special elections since Donald Trump became president had landed in a Miami-Dade commission race, too.

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