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A synopsis of political races

caines | 11/15/2012, 5 a.m.

From South Dade to Fort Pierce, last weeks election produced not only interesting results but also things for voters to keep their eyes on in the upcoming weeks and months. Dwight Bullard successfully completed his bid to move from the State House to the State Senate when he defeated Scott Hopes in State Senate District 39, by almost 50,000 votes. Bullard, who describes himself as an eternal optimist, said he is excited about serving in the State Senate which he expects wont be as polarized as the [State] House where he worked the previous four years. He commented that the results of this past election, will lend itself more to increasing bipartisan cooperation and a greater opportunity for true debate. In the most expensive House race anywhere in the U.S. for this election cycle, Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy was declared the winner on Saturday by the State of Florida over incumbent U.S. Representative Allen West (R). The margin of victory according to the official state count was minimal (just over 2,400 votes) which has prompted the first-term Congressman to demand a recount. In Dade County, County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson successfully won her run-off election against her challenger with 62 percent of the vote. But while District 3 voters were reaffirming their faith in Edmonson, voters all over the County were voicing their desire for term limits. Because the term limit changes are not retroactive, Edmonson is eligible to serve one more term after this one if she chooses to run and, more importantly, if the voters choose to keep her on the County Commission. For Edmonson, the reelection is a mandate from her constituents to continue her work for projects related to services for the working poor and older adults as well as crime.

Other local race results

Winners of the Opa-Locka City Commission election were former mayor [2004 - 2010 and former commissioner 2000 - 2004] Joseph Kelley, with 22 percent of the vote and Luis Santiago, a car salesman with no political experience, with 16 percent of the vote. With Kelley coming in first he will serve as the vice mayor. Among the defeated candidates were: Andre Faustin, Deborah Sheffield Irby, John Riley, Terrence Pinder [lost to Santiago by 47 votes] and two long-time commissioners, Gail Miller and Rose Tydus. Miami-Dade voters returned Bruno Barreiro to the County Commission and filled a vacant seat with another political veteran, former state Rep. Juan C. Zapata. Barriero barely beat his opponent, Luis Garcia, with 54.6 percent of the vote. Zapata beat opponent Manny Machado, a Miami-Dade police detective, for outgoing Commissioner Joe Martinezs seat, also with 54.6 percent. As for the constitutional amendments, voters turned down the majority of with the exception of Amendments 2, 9 and 11. Amendment 2 will allow property tax discounts for disabled veterans. Amendment 9 gives authorization for the legislature to partially or totally exempt surviving spouses of veterans from paying property taxes. And Amendment 11 authorizes counties and municipalities to offer additional tax exemption on homes of low-income seniors. The most-locally talked about question on the ballots was the school board referendum that asked voters to approve a $1.2 billion general obligation bond that would pay for construction and modernization in public schools in M-DC. Voters approved the bond. And while all of the county questions were approved by voters, it was reported that an estimated 19 percent of all voters skipped the questions entirely. Joseph Adams contributed to this story. By Jos Prezjperez@miamitimesonline.com