The biggest problem in the Carlos Gimenez mayoral campaign came right before noon today: rain.
The wet weather is expected to affect the small "rush" of voters who typically go to their Election Day precincts to vote. And turnout has never been more important in a race than it is today. Of course it's desireable to have a high number (read: 30 or 40 percent) of the registered voters come out for any race, let alone a mid-summer county mayoral election resulting from a recall in which 17 percent of the electorate participated.
But in this contest, the saying "every vote counts" has never meant more.
Former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina, who has somewhere around $3 million or more to spend and bought himself a powerful absentee ballot machine, can only benefit from low turnout. Especially since there has been higher turnout in his stronghold: About 5,000 more absentee ballots -- where Robaina decidedly won -- were castffor this runoff than on May 24 (10,000 more votes cast in total). Robaina decidedly beat him in the AB votes (of course, he has the tried and true queen consultant of ABs, Sasha Tirador, who has made billed more than six figures already in this contest, we can add the other races up later) 3 to 2 practically, with 9,000 more than Gimenez. And Gimenez -- who is now on top of the polls, where Robaina was before May24 -- only beat him by a margin of less than 500 votes in the early voting period. But maybe he will have a wider margin in that extra 5,000 EV ballots.
Still, precinct voting is key to both the Gimenez campaign, which hopes it is high, and the Robaina campaign, which hopes it is low. Both campaigns have reported optimistic support. But the elections department has no turnout numbers until the votes are all in.
It is up to the voters to make one of these candidates' day, rain or shine.