Lead closing: Ahead of manual recount, Ileana Garcia leads José Javier Rodríguez by 28 votes

With the Senate District 37 machine recount completed, Republican candidate Ileana Garcia now leads Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez by just 28 votes. Election officials will began a manual recount for the race Thursday.

Wednesday’s portion of the machine recount, which covered in-person ballots submitted during the early voting period, dropped Garcia’s lead from 33 votes to 28 votes out of more than 215,000 votes cast.

Officials began the recount Tuesday, where they reviewed vote-by-mail ballots and votes cast on Election Day. At the start of that process, Garcia lead Sen. Rodríguez by a margin of 48.53%-48.51%. That 0.02 percentage point lead is well within the 0.5 percentage point window to trigger an automatic machine recount.

Tuesday’s portion of the recount raised Garcia’s lead from 31 votes to 33 votes before it fell back to just 28 votes Wednesday.

Florida law also requires a manual recount for races with a margin within 0.25 percentage points. The SD 37 race is within that window as well. A manual recount must be finished by Sunday, Nov. 15 at noon.

The process is going on at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department. Garcia is looking to pull off an upset

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