carlos_gimenez.jpgA bitter election campaign for interim mayor of Miami-Dade County ended Tuesday with Carlos Gimenez, a former county commissioner and Miami city manager, narrowly defeating his opponent.

Gimenez pulled in 51 percent of the votes to 49 percent for former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina and will replace Carlos Alvarez, who was ousted in a recall election on March 15.

Gimenez, who will serve out Alvarez’s term and face voters again in August, edged out Robaina mainly because he got more of the early votes.

Following Alvarez’s ouster, 11 candidates entered a special election to replace him, including four blacks. No candidate obtained a big enough majority to be declared winner in the voting on May 24.

Robaina, who outspent all his rivals, placed at the top of the list, with Gimenez coming in second.

Of the county’s 1.2 million voters, about 16 percent or 199,862 voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s runoff, compared to 194,467 in the first round in May and 208,000 in March when Alvarez was recalled, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.