Miami-Dade voters on Tuesday elected two first-time judges in extremely close races.
Mark Blumstein, a former U.S. Navy lawyer and Surfside city commissioner, edged out Luis Perez-Medina, a Miami-Dade public-corruption prosecutor.
The two candidates had emerged from a group of four during August’s primary election. Blumstein won the most votes then, but the race went to a runoff because he did not reach more than 50 percent of the vote.
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Blumfield beat Perez-Medina by a little more than two percentage points.
Blumstein played up his Navy credentials heavily — for years, he was an active-service lawyer, and he appeared in uniform in his political ads. Today, he runs a private legal firm, touting his participation in a class-action lawsuit against manufacturers of defective Chinese dry wall.
It was enough to best Perez-Medina, who prosecutes corruption cases after working his way through the ranks of the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office over a decade. The law is his second career — for decades, Perez-Medina worked in the insurance industry. But he attended Florida International University’s law school at night, graduating in 2006.
The other race was even closer. Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts — a Miami-Dade assistant public defender and former Miami assistant city attorney — beat Carol Breece, a lawyer with the Broward inspector general’s office and a former prosecutor.
According to the final tally, Rodriguez-Fonts beat Breece by 4,071 votes, by a little more than a half a percentage point.
Tuesday’s two runoff elections came three months after seven judges, five of them incumbents, won seats during the primary election in August.
Voters on Tuesday also retained two judges with Miami’s Third District Court of Appeals: Edwin Scales and Linda Ann Wells.