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Election Day: Key Races Across The State And In South Florida

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Election Day rolls on as South Florida voters continue to file into polls throughout the region.

There are several key races on the ballot that will be monitored closely, from the Governors primary to Miami-Dade and Broward County School Board contests.

In the governor's primary, former Gov. Charlie Crist, running as a Democrat for the first time, is battling former Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich for the Democratic nomination.

On the Republican side, Gov. Rick Scott isn't expected to be challenged by lesser-known Yinka Abosede Adeshina or Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder.

The state attorney general's race features former Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon, a key aide in the Obama White House, and House Minority Leader Perry Thurston competing for the Democratic nomination.  The winner will challenge the well-known incumbent, Republican Pam Bondi.

There are only eight incumbent U.S. members of Congress that have drawn opponents, but one of the more interesting congressional races is in the district that stretches from Westchester to Key West.

That race is for the Republican nominee that will be up against Democratic incumbent Joe Garcia.  Going after the nomination is Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, U.S. Rep. David Rivera, Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck and former County Commissioner Joe Martinez.

A pair of Broward Republicans are competing for the right to challenge U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose district stretches from Miami-Dade to Broward.  Juan Garcia and Joe Kaufman are vying for the nomination, though whoever comes out on top will have an even steeper hill to climb when the time comes to battle Wasserman Schultz.

There are several School Board races that are drawing interest in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.  In Miami-Dade, the county's longest-serving School Board members are being challenged by a pair of newcomers.

Marta Perez has not faced an opponent in District 8 since being initially elected in 1998.  That changes now as adjunct Miami Dade College professor Lawrence Orihuela, a retired school teacher, is hoping to unseat the incumbent.

In District 4, Perla Tabares Hantman, who has been on the board for 18 years, is facing Hialeah-Miami Lakes High English teacher Duysevi Miyar.

As for Broward's School Board race, the highlighted battle is between incumbent Ann Murray and West Park Vice Mayor Felicia Brunson.  This is the first time that voters have an opportunity to voice their displeasure for Murray's use of the N-word in comments made seven years ago, though they didn't become public knowledge until 2011.

Brunson, a black elected official, says that voters have not forgotten Murray's comments referring to the upper-level seats at Sun Life Stadium as "n-- heaven," according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.

"It comes up all the time, because that's her claim to fame," Brunson said. "I don't have to mention it. People know."

Voters in Miami will face three intriguing ballot questions, the most prominent of which is the proposal to extend the city's lease with Bayside Marketplace to 99 years, bringing in more rental funds.  This proposal also includes the construction of the thousand-foot tower, SkyRise Miami, on a piece of land behind Bayside.

The hairpin-shaped skyscraper will house stores, restaurants, night clubs and even amusement-park rides and is viewed as something that will be a global symbol of Miami's prominence, like Paris' Eiffel Tower, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.



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