Miami-Dade mayoral candidates both call primary a victory

Mayor Carlos Gimenez comes out on top with 48 percent of votes

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Ask either of Miami-Dade's mayoral candidates about Tuesday night's primary, and each of them will call it a victory.

"It was heartening to see that I was in first place, that basically I won by 40,000 votes," incumbent Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

"Our goal from the very beginning was just to get into a run-off, and we accomplished that yesterday, so our party last night truly was a victory party," Raquel Regalado said.

Gimenez came out with 48 percent of the vote Tuesday, just 2 percent shy of an outright win. That means Regalado, a former school board member and daughter of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, will square off with Gimenez in a run-off election in November.

"Last night was a rejection of Carlos Gimenez's campaign if you look at the numbers," Regalado said.

"OK, I got 48 percent of the vote and she got 30, so apparently more people rejected her than rejected me," Gimenez responded.

Gimenez was first elected in 2011. He's credited with cutting taxes, cutting his own salary and reducing the county work force.

But Regalado has been his chief critic, accusing him of cronyism and mismanagement.

The two went head to head in a contentious debate on Local 10's "This Week in South Florida," and it might not be the last time.

When asked whether he would debate Regalado a second time, Gimenez said: "Sure. Now it's very clear there's one clear opponent, clear differences between her vision and mine, her experience and mine, and her accomplishments and mine."

"I would love to have more debates," Regalado said. "I think it's a great opportunity to talk about the issues, and I just hope this time around Gimenez is not as disrespectful as he was last time around."

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