Democrat Andrew Gillum entered primary election day trailing Philip Levine and Gwen Graham in Palm Beach County — but he ended up narrowly winning the county after a strong turnout at the precincts on the traditional election day.
Tallahassee Mayor Gillum shocked pollsters and the punditocracy last week by winning the Democratic nomination with 34.4 percent of the statewide primary vote to 31.3 percent for former U.S. Rep. Graham, who had led in most pre-primary polls.
Gillum carried Palm Beach County — the state’s third-largest jurisdiction — with 29.2 percent of the vote to 28.6 percent for Graham, a difference of 702 votes.
Gillum got only 19 percent of ballots cast by mail in Palm Beach County, finishing fourth in that category behind Levine, Graham and billionaire Palm Beach real estate investor Jeff Greene.
In ballots cast at the county’s 15 early voting sites, Gillum finished third with 27.3 percent, trailing Levine and Graham.
But on the traditional election day, Gillum got 35.7 percent of the county vote, far exceeding Graham’s 30.1 percent and Levine’s 23.1 percent.
Greene, who got 10.1 percent statewide, got 13.7 percent in his home county. In Precinct 7154 in Palm Beach, Greene’s home precinct, he finished third with 9 votes, trailing Graham’s 14 and Gillum’s 12.
It’s not immediately clear how early, mail and election-day voting broke statewide for the five-candidate Democratic field.
Palm Beach County voters are more old-school than the rest of Florida. While 57 percent of Democrats statewide cast their ballots by mail or at early-voting sites, only 48 percent of Palm Beach County voters used those forms of voting, with 52 percent waiting until the traditional election day.