After nearly a decade, Miami-Dade County has a new mayor: County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who declared victory over County Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo, Jr.
“To the small business owners struggling to keep their doors open, to the families unable to make ends meet, to the frontline workers who put their lives at risk for us, to all the women with a dream of shattering our highest glass ceiling, we did it,” Levine Cava said on Twitter Tuesday night. “This victory belongs to you.”
Levine Cava is the first woman to get the job.
She declared the win at 8:38 p.m. Later in the evening, Bovo said in a Facebook post, "Thank you to all who believed in my campaign. To my family, friends, loved ones, and team for their tireless efforts. Our message remained consistent 'til the very end. Tonight, we move forward as one."
The early tally: 541,602 votes, or 54.5% for Levine Cava, 451,755 for Bovo, with 45.5%. Those numbers were likely to change as more precincts reported.
The tally: 541,602 votes, or 54.5% for Levine Cava, 451,755 for Bovo, with 45.5%.
The results are unofficial until certified by the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board.
She replaces Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who was term-limited this year and ran for Congress.
The biggest issues for Miami Lakers that Levine Cava will face are property damage from limestone mining and traffic gridlock if the bridges at Northwest 154th Street and Northwest 170th Street are opened.
Bovo said during a debate in July held in town both bridges will likely be opened to traffic.
Levine Cava was against opening the spans that are currently closed to vehicles and cross Interstate 75. She has said good public transit was a solution rather than encouraging more traffic.
The bridges were a key issue for voter Karen Bosa of Palm Springs North.
After filling out her ballot at Palm Springs North Elementary School on Tuesday night, Bosa said she voted for Levine Cava.
"The traffic will get worse with the bridges opening," said Bosa, 43, a car insurance agent whose neighborhood will be affected if the Northwest 170th Street bridge is opened. "Cars are stuck in traffic on Northwest 82nd Avenue and it takes me about 20 minutes to get to the Palmetto Expressway every morning."
Bovo, 58, was a relentless campaigner.
He was endorsed by Gimenez, outgoing County Commissioner Xavier Suarez and Commissioners Jose 'Pepe" Diaz, Javier Soto, Joe Martinez, and Rebecca Sosa.
His other endorsements included former U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida's Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami and U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami.
Locally, Bovo won endorsements from Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid and Councilman Carlos Alvarez.
Backing Levine Cava, 65, County Commissioners Dennis Moss, Barbara Jordan, Audrey Edmonson and Eileen Higgins.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Miami, U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Miami and Fla. Rep. Cindy Polo, D-Miramar, endorsed Levine Cava.
Both candidates relied on political action committees to raise money. Levine Cava raised $7 million to Bovo's $6.2 million.
Levine Cava will supervise about 28,400 county employees, manage an annual budget of $8.9 billion and serve 2.7 million residents. She will also oversee operations at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami.