With a recount completed, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick has declared victory in the Democratic primary of the Congressional District 20 special election.

Upon final tabulations from the Broward and Palm Beach counties supervisor of elections offices, Cherfilus-McCormick finished with 11,662 votes to squeak past Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, who finished with 11,657 votes. Both counties will now send their totals to the Florida Secretary of State’s office for certification.

In a statement, Cherfilus-McCormick called the electoral process democracy’s “bedrock” and although lengthy, it was “necessary to ensure the integrity of every vote to strengthen the public’s trust in the democratic process.”

Cherfilus-McCormick, 42, a businesswoman and home healthcare executive, outlasted 10 other Democrats, including five elected officials, to win the nomination. She campaigned as an unapologetic progressive, championing issues such as universal basic income, Black Lives Matter, Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. In Palm Beach County, she ran up the greatest margin, getting 30% of the vote to 7% for Holness.

Holness won the bulk of the votes in Broward County – 29% – and held a 12-vote lead before the machine recount. State law called for a recount because the margin was less than .5%. After the recount, Cherfilus-McCormick came out five votes ahead.

“I have been pursuing this dream for quite some time,” tweeted Cherfilus-McCormick, who ran twice unsuccessfully for the seat held by the late Alcee Hastings, who died in office in April from a long battle with prostate cancer. Cherfilus-McCormick said she intended to follow Hastings’ “legacy of fighting for the rights and welfare of the common person.”

Cherfilus-McCormick moves on to face Republican Jason Mariner in the Jan. 11 general election.

Florida Senator Shevrin Jones, an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee, congratulated Cherfilus-McCormick on her breakthrough victory.

“I am wishing Sheila all the best as she gets prepared to go into one of the most important times in our nation’s history,” Jones said. “She ran an amazing campaign, and I’m sure she will represent the people well.”

Rep. Bobby DuBose, whose state house district includes Wilton Manors, came in fifth place with 3,457 votes. In order to run DuBose had to resign. The resignation takes effect Jan. 11, the same day a special election for his seat will be held.


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