Florida officials certify 5-vote victory in primary for Alcee Hastings' seat

Florida state officials on Tuesday certified Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick as the winner of the Democratic primary in the special election to succeed the late Rep. Alcee HastingsAlcee (Judge) Lamar HastingsFlorida Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick sworn in as newest House member DeSantis proposes Florida redistricting map Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick wins Florida special election to succeed Alcee Hastings MORE (D-Fla.) after she emerged from two recounts with only five votes separating her and her nearest rival.

Initial vote totals from the 11-way primary held on Nov. 2 showed Cherfilus-McCormick with a razor-thin lead over Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, triggering both an automatic machine recount and hand recount. 

The final count showed Cherfilus-McCormick leading Holness by just five votes in an ultra-low-turnout election, 11,662 to 11,657.

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With the certification of that result on Tuesday, she’ll move onto the general election in January. 

Though she will still technically face four other candidates in the Jan. 11 special election, including Republican Jason Mariner and Libertarian Mike ter Maat, Florida’s 20th District tilts so heavily Democratic that Cherfilus-McCormick’s primary win is seen as a near-guarantee that she’ll succeed Hastings in Congress.

Hastings died in April after a nearly 30-year career in Congress. Cherfilus-McCormick, a health care executive, previously challenged him for his seat twice, first in 2018 and again in 2020.