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Health CEO leads after recount in Florida congressional race

November 13, 2021 GMT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Health care executive Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick maintained a five-vote margin after a recount Friday for the Democratic nomination in a Florida congressional race.

Final but unofficial results showed Cherfilus-McCormick ahead of Dale Holness, a Broward County commissioner, for the party’s nomination in U.S. House District 20.

The Democratic primary earlier this month was a special election for the seat long held by the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who died in April.

On Friday, Broward and Palm Beach county elections officials announced the final, unchanged vote for the top two finishers after a machine and hand recount, including overseas ballots. Cherfilus-McCormick issued a statement on Twitter claiming victory after the recount.

“I am proud to be recognized tonight finally as the Democratic nominee for Florida’s 20th Congressional District following Alcee Hastings’ legacy of fighting for the rights and welfare of the common person,” she said.

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Cherfilus-McCormick loaned her campaign more than $3.7 million and far outspent the other Democrats in the race. She wound up with 11,662 votes to 11,657 for Holness.

The result won’t be official until the Department of State certifies them Tuesday. The Associated Press doesn’t call races that are this close until they become official.

The Democratic primary is essentially choosing who goes to Washington to represent the 20th district. Businessman Jason Mariner won the Republican primary, but he is considered a longshot to win the general election.

Turnout was about 16%. The district is more than 61% Democratic and about 13% Republican. In the 2020 election, Hastings earned 78.7% of the vote to defeat Republican Greg Musselwhite, whom Mariner defeated in this year’s primary.

Hastings was first elected in 1992 to the majority-Black district.

The other Democrats on the ballot were state House Democratic Leader Bobby DuBose, state Rep. Omari Hardy, state Sen. Perry Thurston, Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, author and former National Urban League chief of staff Elvin Dowling, retired Navy petty officer Phil Jackson, business consulting firm founder Emmanuel Morel and physician Dr. Imran Uddin Siddiqui.