MIAMI -- Election officials in Miami predict a 50 percent voter turnout Tuesday as the city's four-term mayor, Puerto Rican-born millionaire Maurice Ferre, faces a challenge from Cuban-born former city commissioner Manolo Reboso.
In what has become Miami's most expensive political campaign in history for the $5,000-a-year job, campaign chests are topping $500,000.
Ferre has raised more than $230,000 and Reboso says he will have collected $300,000 by Tuesday.
It also marks the first time the city's 40,213 registered Hispanic voters outnumber non-Latins (38,502), and blacks (33,468). In Hialeah, the second largest city in Dade County, 78 percent of the 170,000 residents are Hispanic.
Runoff elections appear likely in both Miami and Hialeah.
In Hialeah, incumbent Dale Bennett is beleaguered by six challengers, five of them Latins, in an attempt to hold onto his $40,000-a-year job as mayor.
Bennett is being blistered for the city's $5 million deficit.
The spiraling rate of street crime is the main issue at Miami Beach where Murray Meyerson is seeking to become only the fifth mayor in the island city's history to become re-elected for a second two-year term.
Former city commissioner Norman Ciment is his chief challenger. A third candidate, 'Irish Mike' Philbin, has run a low-key campaign from the bar he owns.
Miami Beach voters also will decide whether to buy out Florida Power & Light Co. facilities and set up a city-owned electric utility in a move to lower power rates.