MIAMI, NOV. 10 -- Mayor Xavier Suarez sailed to an easy victory today over Maurice Ferre, the man he unseated two years ago, in a heated runoff marked by intense lobbying for black voters.
With 100 percent of the precincts counted in the race, Suarez had 29,826 votes, or 62 percent, to 18,173 votes, or 38 percent for Ferre.
Turnout in mostly black precincts, expected to weigh heavily in the outcome of the election, ranged from 30 to 40 percent, with overall turnout projected to reach 48 percent of the city's 100,178 registered voters.
Suarez, Miami's first Cuban-born mayor, received 42.5 percent of the vote in the first election Nov. 3, compared with 32 percent for Ferre, his Puerto Rican-born predecessor. Both have been vying for the black community's support, which went mostly to Arthur Teele Jr., who gained 23 percent of the vote and did not make the runoff.
The election of Miami's mayor is a nonpartisan race. The mayor holds a largely ceremonial job, sharing his power with the City Commission, and the handling of many city functions is shared with the Dade County government.
Suarez, 38, is a Harvard-educated lawyer who beat banker Raul Masvidal in a runoff in 1985. Ferre ran in the primary that year but failed to make the runoff.
Suarez campaigned for a final day Monday, seeking to offset the endorsement Ferre received from a group of black religious leaders during the weekend.
The endorsement, spread throughout the black-community churches Sunday morning, was in sharp contrast to the backing that helped Suarez unseat Ferre two years ago.
However, some black leaders backed Suarez in his reelection bid, snubbing the decision of the clergymen who interviewed both candidates Saturday before endorsing Ferre. Some blacks, including Teele, remained neutral.
In the five-man primary, Suarez garnered support from middle- and upper-income Hispanics and non-Latin whites. Ferre, 52, a businessman, picked up most of the remaining Cuban-American votes.
Teele finished third. A black lawyer and newcomer to Miami politics, Teele won four of every five black votes despite his ties to the Republican Party and the Reagan administration. Teele is former head of the Urban Mass Transit Administration.
Black votes were considered a major factor in the mayoral race.