It’s an old-fashioned Florida recount. By gar, it’s been awhile.
In the early morning hours after Election Night, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness held a slim 12 vote lead over Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick.
By Friday, however, when the canvassing boards in Broward and Palm Beach counties finished their machine and manual recount, Cherfilus-McCormick had a 3 vote advantage. Furthermore, an examination of overvotes and undervotes extended her lead to 5 votes, 11,662 to 11,657.
Nevertheless, Holness still has a few options left. For example, military and overseas ballots may still be received by the Nov. 12th deadline. Certification is set for Nov. 14th, and of course, there’s always the possibility of legal challenges.
If Cherfilus-McCormick does indeed end up with the nomination it would be a major defeat for the local Democratic establishment. She ran from the left in 2018 and 2020 against Rep. Alcee Hastings, securing just 26.2% and 30.7% respectively. In 2021, though, 23.7% appears to have been enough.
As Dave Weigel of The Washington Post pointed out, if Rep. Hastings had retired or anointed a successor; he probably could’ve kept the seat out of Cherfilus-McCormick’s hands. Yet, despite his 84 years of age and his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Hastings refused to step aside. Now, a candidate proudly endorsed by Marianne Williamson is the heavy favorite to replace him.
The eventual Democratic nominee will face Republican Jason Mariner in the January 11th special election. Florida’s 20th is a D+28 seat and is widely expected to stay blue.
Atlanta Mayoral Run-Off
The surprise retirement of Atlanta’s incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms seemed like the perfect opening for former Mayor Kasim Reed.
At the tail end of his second term in office, Reed was engulfed in a bribery scandal. Though the former Mayor was never charged, one of his top advisors was eventually sentenced to 21 months in prison. So, after a few quiet years on the sidelines, Reed jumped at the chance to restore his reputation with another term.
Polls throughout the summer and fall found Reed neck-and-neck with City Council President Felicia Moore, indicating a likely run-off between the two. The final University of Georgia survey, for example, found Moore with 24% and Reed with 20%. City Councilman Andre Dickens was in a distant third place with just 6%.
Felicia Moore led the way in last week’s results with 39,520 votes or 40.7%, with Andre Dickens securing second place with 22,343 votes or 23.0%. Kasim Reed finished just short with 21,743 votes or 22.4%.
Moore and Dickens will both advance to the November 30th run-off and confront an unusual situation. Although Mayor Bottoms sat out the primary, she previously promised to endorse a candidate in the run-off. While a plurality of Atlanta residents feel the city is on the wrong track, a majority still approve of the job Bottoms is doing. As a result, Moore and Dickens will have to balance the need to win the incumbent’s support with their desire to distinguish their candidacies from the status quo.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this race throughout this month.
A Final Note (and a Silver Lining for Pennsylvania Dems)
We always want to be honest and accountable in this column (and by we I mean me). Last week, I prematurely credited the Republicans with a clean sweep in Pennsylvania’s statewide judicial races. Turns out the GOP merely won seven of the eight contests.