MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – Raquel "Raquelita" Regalado won enough votes to move forward with a runoff election against the incumbent, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
With nearly all of the precincts reporting, Gimenez finished Wednesday's non-partisan primary election with 47.66 percent -- less than the 50 percent of the votes he needed to avoid the November ballot.
"It’s a whole new ballgame," Regalado said in a statement calling the results "a victory."
Regalado, a District 6 School Board member, beat out five other candidates with 32 percent of the votes. Gimenez said he fell behind when candidate Frederick Bryant got more votes than expected.
"Nobody really saw that coming," Gimenez said.
Bryant, a 63-year-old retired teacher from Overtown, and Alfred Santamaria, a 36-year-old Colombian-American newcomer, followed with about 17.5 percent of the votes.
The other three running split the remaining three percent.
With about $4.5 million, Gimenez reported raising the most campaign funds with the help of his best supporter, developer Jorge Perez.
"I'm in good shape for November, actually the demographics favor me more in November than they do in August," Gimenez said.
Regalado raised some $983,000. Her most powerful supporter remains billionaire Norman Braman.
If she wins the November election, Regalado, 42, will become the first woman to serve as Miami-Dade County mayor. And Regalado, 62, the more experienced candidate, is likely to leave politics behind.