Voters in Miami and Miami Beach will fill a vacant seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission Tuesday as Zoraida Barreiro and Eileen Higgins battle it out for the District 5 post vacated by Bruno Barreiro to run for Congress.
The two Barreiros are married, and this is the first run for political office for Higgins, pitting the newcomer against an established name in a district that straddles Miami and Miami Beach. Higgins finished first in the four-candidate primary last month, with Barreiro a close second. With no candidate crossing the 50 percent threshold during the May 22 balloting, the top two finishers moved on to Tuesday's runoff election.
Seats on the 13-member commission are nonpartisan positions, but both parties have jumped into the contest between Barreiro, a Republican, and Higgins, a Democrat.
Bruno Barreiro resigned his seat in March to run for the GOP congressional primary to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
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The two-person race has so far brought more enthusiasm than the four-person race did. There were just under 8,000 mail-in ballots received in the primary, compared to 8,709 in the runoff as of Monday morning. Just under 1,700 people voted early in the primary, but nearly 2,300 headed to polls in the runoff before early voting concluded Sunday evening.
A small number of people will likely decide the race — turnout in the primary was only about 13 percent of the 95,000 registered voters who live in the district.
The winner can serve the two years remaining in Bruno Barreiro's term, and then would be eligible to run for a full four-year term in 2020.
Here are some questions and answers related to Tuesday's special election.
1. Am I in District 5?
If you live in Miami or Miami Beach, you might be. The district starts in the West Flagler area of Miami, runs through Little Havana and the Roads area, touching parts of Brickell and downtown before stretching across Biscayne Bay to envelop the harbor islands, all of South Beach, and parts of coastal Miami Beach to Normandy Drive.
2. Who can vote?
Any registered voter in District 5, regardless of party affiliation.
3. When can I vote?
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
4. Where do I vote?
Probably where you voted on the last Election Day. There are 34 polling places in District 5 for the special election. For a list of locations, click here.
5. The person with the most votes wins?
Yes, even if it's only by one vote. There was a runoff on May 22 where one of the candidates could have won by taking more than 50 percent of the vote. Nobody did, so the top two finishers — Higgins and Barreiro — advanced to Tuesday's runoff election.
6. Is Early Voting over?
Yes. It ended Sunday.
7. Where can I find more information about the candidates?
The Miami Herald published profiles of each candidate, and they are linked below.
The candidates are:
Education: Bachelor of Arts in business administration, Florida International University
Neighborhood: The Roads in Miami