MIAMI — Former Mayor Xavier Suarez upset incumbent Joe Carollo in the city's mayoral runoff on Thursday, a contest swamped by allegations of voter fraud.
Suarez got 23,598 votes, or 53%, while Carollo had 20,739 votes, or 47%, with all precincts reporting.
Suarez's supporters danced the macarena and cheered as he said: "We thank the Lord."
Three minor candidates prevented Suarez or Carollo from getting a majority of the vote on Nov. 4. Suarez denied Carollo an outright victory by receiving 63% of the absentee ballots cast.
"This time we won by more regular votes," Suarez said. "We did everything by the book. There hasn't been any impropriety."
A somber Carollo thanked his supporters and recalled his efforts at leading Miami out of its worst financial crisis, including a $68-million shortfall, as well as fighting back a citizens' attempt to abolish the city.
"I come with my head up because I know I did everything I could have done to save this city," said the 42-year-old seafood exporter. "We ran a clean campaign, an honest campaign, with dignity."
Earlier in the day, Suarez complained bitterly about media coverage of the absentee-ballot scandal, saying his campaign and reputation had been seriously damaged.
In last week's election, Carollo got 49.6% to Suarez's 47%. Officials said Carollo wound up 155 votes short of a majority.
Carollo sued, alleging fraud.
In the past week, authorities arrested one man on suspicion of buying ballots of dead voters and charged a 92-year-old political boss in the Little Havana neighborhood with vote fraud, seizing more than 100 absentee ballots from his home.
In his lawsuit, Carollo asked a judge to throw out all absentee votes and declare him the winner. A hearing on his suit was scheduled for today.