Will Joe Martinez challenge Carlos Gimenez's win in the Miami-Dade County mayoral race?

Martinez not conceding despite trailing by 53K votes

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter

MIAMI - Though Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez won re-election handily Tuesday night, his opponent Joe Martinez is indicating he may challenge the results based on questions of absentee ballot fraud.

Martinez did not formally concede, nor did he place a traditional congratulatory phone call, even after all the votes were counted showing Gimenez defeated him by a margin of 54 percent to 30 percent.

SPECIAL SECTON: 2012 Elections

VIDEO: Michael Putney interviews Gimenez

Recent arrests of ballot collecting suspects indicate hundreds of absentee ballots in their possession may be in question.

John Rivera, the head of Miami-Dade's police union and a staunch Martinez supporter, wants him to file a challenge to the validity of the absentee ballots.

"If he is willing to do it, we are certainly wiling to support him," said Rivera, President of the Police Benevolent Association.  "We are exploring the opportunity of our ability to have standing, but the one who has the greatest standing is Joe Martinez."

By percentage and vote count, Gimenez won 54.23 percent with 126,483 votes. Martinez garnered 30.78 percent with 71,783 votes.

To force a run off, which occurs if no candidate gets 50 percent plus one vote, a recount would have to show Gimenez with 9,868 fewer votes, or give Martinez 44,832 more votes.

There were 92,251 absentee ballots cast in Tuesday's primary mayoral election, favoring Gimenez two-to-one.

All the votes have been counted except for the provisional votes. If Martinez wants to challenge the results, he will have 10 days to file after the votes have been certified by the canvassing board.

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