Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is just two votes ahead of Dale Holness in the razor-thin special Democratic primary race for Florida’s 20th Congressional District after a day of recounting.
As of Nov. 9, Cherfilus-McCormick is leading the way with 11,659 votes, or 23.76 percent while Holness has 11,657 votes, or 23.75 percent, as per Florida Election Watch.
Election officials in Broward counties were required by state law to conduct a recount on Friday after unofficial results from this week’s razor-thin election showed that just a small number of votes separated Holness and Cherfilus-McCormick to see who replaces longtime U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings who passed away in April at the age of 84.
State law requires a machine recount when there is a difference of 0.5 percent in the initial election night result. If the machine recount results in a margin within 0.25 percentage points, a manual recount occurs.
While a recount has been conducted, there are overseas and military ballots postmarked by election day that arrive by Nov. 12 that still need to be counted, which could affect the final result.
Holness, a Broward County commissioner, and Cherfilus-McCormick, a health care company CEO, had beat out nine other Democrats seeking to win the seat. Turnout was about 16 percent, The Associated Press reports.
Following Friday’s recount, both candidates took to social media to share their optimism over the upcoming election results.
“It’s a rollercoaster, but I still have hope,” Holness wrote in a Twitter post on Friday.
“Today, my campaign extended our vote lead by 5 after a machine and hand recount. I pray that my team is right and this lead will hold. 7 days until we know,” Cherfilus-McCormick wrote in a post on Twitter.
“Americans deserve access to equitable opportunities, no matter who you are or where you come from. I’m not new to this fight and I won’t back down. South Florida has a Democrat who will be a champion for them,” she said in a separate post on Monday.
Cherfilus-McCormick graduated from Howard University and St. Thomas University School of Law. She was a project manager for the New York City Transit Authority before joining Trinity Health Care Services in 1999 where she eventually became CEO.
She has led the way when it comes to fundraising for her campaign with $3.8 million, $3.7 million of which she loaned her campaign.
Cherfilus-McCormick has focused her campaign on key issues such as Medicare for all, increasing the minimum wage to $20 an hour, legalizing cannabis, and a “people’s prosperity plan” which would give people over 18 years of age $1,000 a month if they earn less than $75,000 a year.
Holness was born in Jamaica before moving to the United States as a teenager where he attended classes at Broward Community College, Sheridan Vocational, and Nova Southeastern University. He previously worked as a real estate broker in 1983 and co-founded All Broward Realty.
His campaign focused on homeownership among families, economic prosperity through strengthening households and businesses and creating policies that afford access to opportunities, and immigration; specifically establishing immigration rules that protect America while also helping immigrants to integrate within society.
The southeast Florida district is one of the most heavily Democratic districts in the state, meaning the winner of the Democratic primary in the Ft. Lauderdale area is virtually assured of going to Congress in the Jan. 11, 2022, special election.