Health care CEO wins Florida congressional race by 5 votes

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, left, is asking the court to intervene wit the reviewing of three vote-by-mail ballots during the manual recount stage of the 20th Congressional District Democratic primary. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A health care executive won the Democratic nomination to replace the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, carrying the race by five votes over a Broward County commissioner in a victory the state certified Tuesday.

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick received 11,662 votes compared with 11,657 for Dale Holness, according to the certification, which came two weeks after the special election primary.

She will be a heavy favorite to defeat the Republican nominee, businessman Jason Mariner, in the Jan. 11 election as Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 4-to-1 margin in U.S. House District 20, which covers portions of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Hastings spent 27 years in Congress before he died of cancer in April. January's winner will serve the final year of the term and will have to seek reelection in November 2022.

Cherfilus-McCormick, 39, loaned her campaign more than $3.7 million and far outspent the other nine Democrats in the race. She has spent more than a decade as CEO of Trinity Health Care Services, which provides in-home care. She is a married mother of two.

“This is an exciting time for our district,” Cherfilus-McCormick said in a statement. “It was imperative that our district has someone who understands and represents the unique complexities of our culturally diverse community. I appreciate everyone who supported me in this process and now it’s time to get to work."