Dramatic Results in Primary Battles for House Seats
Around the State
With all 120 House seats up in November, there were some dramatic results in the Tuesday primaries.
While some incumbents received scares in the primaries, all of the incumbents save one held on to win. With a few upsets and some races thought to be close turning into blow-outs, keep an eye on some of the House races in November for further political drama.
House Seat 1: With Rep. Greg Evers, R-Baker, running for the Senate, Doug Broxson took 45 percent of the almost 20,000 votes counted, defeating three rivals for the Republican nomination in this district representing parts of Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties. Greg Brown pulled second with 29 percent while Ferd Salomon took third with 22 percent. Ricky Perritt brought up the rear with 4 percent. Broxson will be a heavy favorite over independent Mathias Venditto in November. There is no Democratic candidate in the race.
House Seat 2: Clay Ingram beat former Florida Highway Patrol District Commander David Karasek in the Republican primary for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Dave Murzin of Pensacola, who represents parts of Escambia County. Ingram took 61 percent of the more than 14,000 votes counted. He will be a near-lock in the general election in November, facing a write-in candidate. There is no Democratic candidate in the race.
House Seat 9: Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, easily dispatched a primary challenge from former Leon County Democratic Chairman Rick Minor. The incumbent, who represents parts of Gadsden, Jefferson and Leon counties, pulled 69 percent of the more than 21,000 votes counted in the Democratic primary. She will face businesswoman Kirk Headley-Perdue in November. Headley-Perdue took 55 percent of the more than 14,000 votes counted in the Republican primary, defeating conservative activist Ann Yarko.
House Seat 11: Lake City businesswoman Elizabeth Porter cleared the decks in the Republican primary to take on Rep. Debbie Boyd, D-Newberry, who represents all of Gilchrist, Lafayette and Suwannee counties and parts of Alachua, Columbia and Dixie counties. Porter took 73 percent of the more than 12,000 votes counted, easily defeating Paul Watson who placed second with 14 percent, and Terry Rauch and Charles Underhill who pulled in single digits. Porter will take on Boyd and TEA Party candidate John Ferentinos in November.
House Seat 16: Representing parts of Duval County, Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville, appears headed for another term after turning back a primary challenge from Luis Melendez. With more than 10,000 votes counted, McBurney won 84 percent. He will take on environmentalist and independent candidate Dave Baldwin in the general election. There is no Democrat in the race.
House Seat 20: Rep. Bill Proctor of St. Augustine defeated businessman Alan Kelso in the Republican primary in this district representing parts of Clay, Flagler and St. Johns counties. With more than 19,000 votes counted, Proctor took 71 percent of the vote. He will take on Democratic candidate Doug Courtney in November.
House Seat 22: Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, boasted at the end of the session that he was looking forward to retirement, so there is no incumbent for his seat, representing parts of Alachua, Levy and Marion counties. Businessman Keith Perry, who managed Steve Oelrich’s campaign for the Senate, prevailed in the Republican primary, taking 44 percent of the more than 15,000 votes counted. Former Micanopy Mayor Remzey L. Paul Samarrai and funeral-home operations director John Deakins, who managed two of Dennis Baxley’s House campaigns, both took 28 percent. Perry will take on Democrat Jon Paugh in the general election come November.
House Seat 25: With Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, vacating this seat representing parts of Lake, Seminole and Volusia counties to run for the Senate, Larry Metz, a member of the Lake County School Board, defeated attorney and businessman Rick Joyce in the Republican primary in a close race. With more than 17,000 votes counted, Metz won 53 percent compared to Joyce’s 47 percent. Metz will face Democrat Frank Wood, an economics teacher, in November.
House Seat 26: With Rep. Pat Patterson, of DeLand, retiring due to term limits, former Ormond Beach Mayor Fred Costello won the Republican nomination for this seat representing parts of Flagler and Volusia counties. Costello took 50 percent of the more than 14,000 votes counted. Businessman Nathan McDonell placed a surprise second over Coastal Florida PBA President Vince Champion, a retired police officer, with 28 percent. Costello will take on Democratic nominee Tim Huth, who worked as a deputy superintendent in the Volusia County school system, in the general election. This could turn into a race to watch come November.
House Seat 28: Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, looks set to win a fourth term representing parts of Volusia County. Hukill held off a Republican primary challenge from conservative activist Teresa Valdes. The incumbent won 69 percent of the more than 13,000 votes counted. Hukill will face a write-in candidate in November, making her a heavy favorite to win a fourth term in the house.
House Seat 29: With Rep. Ralph Poppell, R-Titusville, facing term limits, four Republicans battled it out to take his place representing parts of Brevard and Indian River counties. Businessman Tom Goodson, who serves on the Canaveral Port Authority, won by the skin of his teeth -- taking 31 percent of the almost 25,000 votes counted. Attorney Erin Grall was right behind with 30 percent and accountant Roger Shealy in third with 28 percent. Businessman Rob Dale lagged in fourth with 11 percent. With no Democrat in the race, Goodson should be heading to Tallahassee next year.
House Seat 31: Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne, held on for dear life in the Republican primary. Facing a challenge from Indialantic Councilwoman Lori Halbert for the Republican nomination, Tobia carried 51 percent of the more than 14,000 votes counted -- beating his rival by less than 200 votes. He will face Jodi James who won 44 percent of the more than 6,700 votes in the Democratic primary to beat Jane Havet and Joe Pishgar. While Tobia certainly faced a serious challenge from Halbert, he remains the favorite to keep this seat representing parts of Brevard County.
House Seat 33: With Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Oviedo, facing term limits and running for Congress, there were primaries in the Republican and Libertarian parties for this seat covering parts of Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties. Jason Brodeur, who works as a consultant in the health-care industry, won the Republican nomination with 51 percent of the more than 15,000 votes counted -- beating Dr. Alice Sterling, an optometrist, who placed second with 37 percent. James DeCocq, who has served as the city manager for Marathon and Sunny Isles Beach, lagged far behind in third with 11 percent. Franklin Perez took 49 of the 68 votes cast in the Libertarian primary to defeat Ellen Paul. Brodeur will be the favorite in November over Perez and the Democratic candidate Leo Cruz.
House Seat 36: With almost 42,000 votes counted, Greg Reynolds took 62 percent to defeat Craig McCarthy in the Republican primary and in November will take on Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, who represents parts of Orange County. Reynolds will be an underdog to defeat Randolph. Independent candidate Lawanna Gelzer and a write-in candidate will also be on the ballot come November.
House Seat 43: Jimmie T. Smith defeated Rep. Ron Schultz of Homosassa in the Republican primary for this seat covering all of Citrus County and parts of Hernando and Levy counties. Schultz posted less-than-impressive fund-raising figures, but neither did Smith who edged the incumbent with 51 percent of the more than 31,000 votes counted. There is no Democratic candidate in the race, so Smith is headed to Tallahassee after knocking off the incumbent.
House Seat 44: In this district, covering parts of Hernando, Pasco and Sumter counties, Democrats have an impressive candidate looking to defeat Rep. Ron Schenck, R-Spring Hill, in November. Former Hernando County Commissioner Diane Rowden defeated rivals Jay Thompson and David Werder for the Democratic nomination, taking 67 percent of the more than 8,400 votes counted in the race. This race could be one to watch come November but Schenck should be considered the favorite to hold on to his seat.
House Seat 45: With Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Dunedin, retiring, the Republicans look likely to hold on to this seat representing parts of Pasco and Pinellas counties. Richard Corcoran, former chief of staff under Marco Rubio, won the Republican nomination with 43 percent of the more than 12,000 votes counted. Kathryn Starkey, who served on the Pasco County School Board, placed second with 34 percent. Businessman Fabian Calvo took third. With no Democrats in the race, Corcoran will be a near-lock to defeat a write-in candidate in November to win the general election.
House Seat 47: Representing parts of Hillsborough County, Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa, is leaving the House and attorney James Grant won the Republican nomination to take his place. Grant took 37 percent of the more than 10,000 votes counted in the primary. Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair, also well-known for his professional wrestling career as one of the high-flying “Killer Bees” tag-team, edged businesswoman Irene Guy for second place. Businessman Tom Aderhold placed fourth. Grant will face a strong Democratic candidate in Michael Steinberg come November.
House Seat 48: Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, held on to win the Republican primary, beating back challenges from Marg Baker and Steven Mueller in this district covering parts of Pasco and Pinellas counties. Nehr took 56 percent of the more than 13,000 votes counted while Mueller placed second with 24 percent. Nehr will take on Democratic candidate Tom McKone in November.
House Seat 55: Representing parts of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties, Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, looks headed back to Tallahassee. Rouson crushed his Democratic primary opponent April Danielle Sheffield -- taking 74 percent of the almost 10,000 votes counted. He will take on a write-in opponent in November. There is no Republican candidate in the race.
House Seat 56: Rep. Rachel Burgin of Tampa, who represents parts of Hillsborough County, survived a Republican primary challenge from Dr. Marc Johnson. Burgin took 56 percent of the more than 10,000 votes counted. Democratic candidate David Chalela and a write-in candidate await Burgin in November. Keep an eye on Chalela’s fund-raising. If it improves, this race may bear watching come November.
House Seat 57: With Rep. Faye Culp of Tampa retiring, Dana Young beat out two other attorneys for the Republican nomination in this seat covering parts of Hillsborough County. Young won 55 percent of the more than 10,000 votes counted to defeat Todd Marks and Don Molloy for the Republican nomination. Come November, Young will take on Democratic candidate Stacy Frank, an attorney and business owner, and TEA Party candidate Matthew Russell. This one is shaping up as one of the House races to watch.
House Seat 60: With Rep. Ed Homan, R-Temple Terrace, stepping down due to term limits, there were primary battles on both the Democratic and Republican sides in this district that contains parts of Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Former Tampa City Councilman Shawn Harrison defeated conservative activist Trey Stroud for the Republican nomination. Harrison took 59 percent of the more than 8,600 votes counted in the Republican primary. Political activist and retired Air Force officer Russ Patterson defeated Christopher Carlos Cano for the Democratic nomination, taking 72 percent of the almost 5,600 votes counted. Harrison will be the favorite but he will not be a heavy one.
House Seat 61: Rep. Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel, who represents parts of Hillsborough and Pasco counties and is in line to be speaker in 2013 and 2014, routed Kevin Wright in the Republican primary. Weatherford took 80 percent of the more than 16,000 votes counted. He will be a firm favorite over Democratic nominee and Coast Guard veteran Elena McCullough.
House Seat 66: With Rep. Baxter Troutman, R-Winter Haven, leaving the House, longtime chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission Ben Albritton is a sure favorite to win the seat, which covers all of Hardee County and parts of Highlands and Polk counties. Albritton carried 79 percent of the more than 11,000 votes counted in the Republican primary against Chevon Baccus and is challenged only by a write-in opponent in November.
House Race 67: Taking 53 percent of the 23,000 votes counted in the Republican primary, attorney and Iraq War veteran Greg Steube won the contest in his bid to replace retiring Speaker Pro Temp Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, to represent parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Businessman Jeremiah Guccione placed second with 28 percent and Dr. Bob McCann trailed in third. Steube will be a favorite, but not a heavy one, over attorney Z.J. Hafeez, the Democratic candidate. Complicating things is the candidacy of term-limits activist John Studebaker who is running without party affiliation.
House Seat 73: With Rep. Nick Thompson, R-Fort Myers, retiring, real estate appraiser Matt Caldwell scored a minor upset, winning the Republican nomination in this district which represents parts of Lee County. Caldwell won 35 percent of the more than 11,000 votes counted, beating health-care administrator and attorney Jason Moon and John Schultz, a retired Florida police officer who served as security for Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. Deanna Casalino lagged behind in fourth place. Caldwell is not out of the woods yet. Democrats are high on the chances of their candidate, Cole Peacock, especially with TEA Party candidate Raul Ismael Pantoja Rodriguez in the race come November.
House Seat 79: Rep. Mike Horner of Kissimmee was supposed to be tested in the Republican primary by Col. Thomas Chalifoux, a former member of the Osceola County School Board who tried to run for the seat in 2008 only to be taken off the ballot. Horner, representing parts of Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola and Polk counties, crushed Chalifoux, taking 78 percent of the more than 9,600 votes counted. Horner will be a favorite for another term despite facing Democratic candidate Eddie Freeman, TEA Party candidate Jose Alvarez and a write-in candidate in November.
House Seat 80: Rep. Debbie Mayfield of Vero Beach survived two challengers in the Republican primary, looking to take this seat which represents parts of Brevard, Indian River and St. Lucie counties. Mayfield took 52 percent of the more than 17,000 votes counted in the primary, while former Rep. Art Argenio placed second with 34 percent. Bradley Ward trailed in third. Mayfield faces a write-in candidate in November and appears headed back to the House.
House Seat 83: With Rep. Carl Domino of Jupiter running for the Senate and losing, Pat Rooney -- brother of a congressman and part of the family that owns the Pittsburgh Steelers -- won the Republican nod in this district representing parts of Palm Beach County. With more than 12,000 votes counted, Rooney took 61 percent to defeat Nancy Cardone and Francisco Rodriguez. Democratic candidate Dr. Mark Marciano, an optometrist, is no pushover and has done well in building a war chest. This battle will be one to watch.
House Seat 85: Representing parts of Palm Beach County, Rep. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, looks like a favorite over Republican nominee Tami Donnally. Despite winning the GOP primary over D.J. DeRenzo with 67 percent of the more than 7,200 votes counted, Donnally has floundered with fund-raising. Abruzzo appears to be a heavy favorite come November.
House Seat 86: With Rep. Maria Lorts Sachs, D-Delray Beach, running for the Senate, the Democrats will keep this seat representing Palm Beach County as no Republican is running in the race. Lori Berman, a former congressional aide and an attorney, is headed to the Florida House after beating Carole Penny Kaye for the Democratic nomination. Berman took 79 percent of the more than 13,000 votes counted.
House Seat 88: Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, survived a serious primary challenge in his bid to win a second term representing voters in parts of Palm Beach County. Pafford carried 58 percent of the almost 7,400 votes to hold off Ron Miranda. Miranda is the husband of Palms West Chamber of Commerce CEO Jaene Miranda. Pafford will face a write-in candidate in November.
House Seat 89: With Rep. Mary Brandenburg, D-Lake Worth, retiring, her husband Peter hoped to keep this seat in Palm Beach County in the family fold. It didn’t happen. Former Lake Worth Mayor Jeff Clemens, who had served as an aide to Mary Brandenburg, won the Democratic nod over Peter Brandenburg by a surprisingly large margin, taking 60 percent of the almost 4,400 votes counted. Clemens should have an easy time in November defeating Republican candidate Steven Rosenblum who has had problems raising money.
House Seat 90: With Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Fort Lauderdale, running for a Senate seat, this seat in Broward and Palm Beach counties is open. Former Rep. Irving "Irv" Slosberg won 78 percent of the more than 9,500 votes in the Democratic primary to defeat educator Sheldon "Klassy" Klasfeld. Slosberg will be the favorite in November against Alison Rampersad, a businesswoman who has the Republican nomination in the race.
House Seat 91: With Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, running for Senate, there was a close contest in the Republican primary to replace her in this district in Broward and Palm Beach counties. George Moraitis, an attorney who served as a naval officer, edged David Maymon, an attorney who founded Advocate Home Care to work with patients recently discharged from the hospital, for the Republican nod, 48 percent to 46 percent. Community activist and businessman Yomin Postelnik placed a distant third with 6 percent. Moraitis will take on Democratic candidate Barbara Anne Stern, an attorney and the daughter of lobbyist and political consultant Judy Stern. John Perez is running as the TEA party candidate.
House Seat 92: Rep. Gwyn Clarke-Reed, D-Pompano Beach, survived a serious challenge in the Democratic primary for this seat representing parts of Broward County. She held off Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Justin Flippen, taking 56 percent of the more than 6,700 votes counted in the race. With no Republican in the race, Clarke-Reed looks headed back to the Florida House.
House Seat 94: Representing parts of Broward County, Rep. Hazelle Rogers, D-Lauderhill, squashed a primary challenge from John Labriola. Labriola, who says he wants to restore Christian values to America, took 12 percent of the more than 8,000 votes in the Democratic primary -- meaning Rogers won the rest. As she faces only a write-in opponent in November, Rogers is in excellent shape to head back to Tallahassee.
House Seat 104: With Rep. Yolly Roberson, D-North Miami Beach, running for Congress, North Miami Beach City Councilman John Patrick Julien is headed to Tallahassee. With more than 10,300 votes counted, Julien carried 40 percent to win the Democratic nomination -- and the seat, because there is no Republican in the race. Businessman and grad student Michael Hepburn claimed second with 23 percent, followed by attorney Michael Etienne in third and Dominique Simon. Despite the backing of a number of unions, political activist Matthew Tisdol placed last with 10 percent.
House Seat 107: Former Rep. Gustavo Barreiro beat Dr. Tony Japour, a physician who also owns an Internet art dealership, in the Republican primary to take on Rep. Luis Garcia, D-Miami. Barreiro took 72 percent of the more than 5,000 votes in the Republican primary. Barreiro served four terms in the House -- but he also was given the boot from leading the Department of Juvenile Justice in early 2009. While the Republicans have a chance, Garcia is the favorite -- but certainly not an overwhelming one -- to win another term.
House Seat 108: With Rep. Ronald Brise, D-North Miami, headed to the PSC, nurse and businesswoman Daphne Campbell looks headed to the House to represent parts of Miami-Dade. She edges North Miami City Clerk Alix Desulme in the Democratic primary, taking 52 percent of the almost 8,900 votes counted. With no opponent in November, Campbell is headed to Tallahassee.
House Seat 109: With Rep. James Bush, D-Miami, making an unsuccessful congressional campaign, attorney Cynthia Stafford, who was an aide to former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek and ran for the seat in 2008, is joining the Florida House representing parts of Miami-Dade. She took 43 percent of the more than 9,800 votes counted in the Democratic primary and defeated the field. Bernadine Bush, a teacher who is married to Rep. Bush, placed second with 24 percent. Community activist Bess McElroy came in third with 17 percent and Roy Hardemon, who has been running for this seat off and on since 1998, trailed in fourth. With no Republican in the race, Stafford is going to Tallahassee.
House Seat 112: With Rep. David Rivera of Miami running for Congress, Jeanette Nunez, a medical administrator who served as chief of staff to Alex Diaz de la Portilla, won the Republican nomination. She took 66 percent of the more than 6,700 votes counted, while Republican activist and teacher Juan D’Arce placed second with 19 percent, and businessman and retired Marine officer James Patrick Guerrero came in third. Doral City Councilwoman Sandra Ruiz won the Democratic nomination with 74 percent of the more than 3,200 votes counted, beating business owner Johnny Farias. Nunez will be a favorite over Ruiz and independent candidate Robert Van Name in November.
House Seat 114: With Rep. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, running for the Senate, Miami-Dade County School Board member Ana Rivas Logan has the Republican nomination. She will be a favorite in November over former Kendall City Councilwoman Millie Herrera and Denny Wood, who is running without party affiliation. Herrera defeated Bob Blanco for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, taking 73 percent of the more than 3,450 votes counted.
House Seat 115: With Rep. J. C. Planas, R-Miami/Westchester, facing term limits, expect an interesting fight to replace him. Attorney Jose Felix Diaz won the Republican primary in impressive fashion, taking 60 percent of the more than 9,300 votes counted to defeat Carla Ascencio-Savola, who served on the Kendall Community Council and ran for the seat back in 2006. There is also a strong Democratic candidate in the race. Dr. Jeffrey Solomon, a chiropractor and small-business man, has done well in raising money, and Christopher Blau is running as the TEA Party candidate. Diaz is the favorite, but this one could command attention.
House Seat 116: Assistant State Attorney Carlos Trujillo scored a minor upset in defeating Miami-Dade public schools administrator and former Rep. Carlos Manrique in the Republican primary to replace Rep. Marcelo Llorente, R-Miami, in Miami-Dade. Trujillo took 33 percent of the almost 5,500 votes counted while Manrique took 28 percent. Attorney Francisco Amador placed third with 27 percent and business owner Whilly Bermudez trailed in fourth. Trujillo appears headed to Tallahassee as he faces two write-in opponents.
House Seat 117: Businessman Michael Bileca took 40 percent of the almost 9,900 votes counted in the Republican primary to replace Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, who is term-limited. City planner and grad student Ralph Rosado placed second with 22 percent. Nonprofit director Ana Alliegro placed third while Afghanistan veteran and businessman Jose Pazos, former Navy Seal and business owner Marcus Rivchin, attorney Ernie Martinez and grad student Juan Carlos “Juankay” Robaina pulled in single digits. Bileca will take on Lisa Lesperance, an attorney who has the Democratic nomination.
House Seat 118: Representing parts of Miami-Dade, Rep. Dwight Bullard of Miami had a scare in the Democratic primary. While Bullard’s fund-raising has not been impressive, neither was that of Kionne McGhee who challenged him. Bullard won the primary with only 53 percent of the 6,500 votes counted. Republican candidate Charlie Lopez will take on Bullard in November. Bullard is the favorite, of course -- but he was also the favorite against McGhee and barely survived.
House Seat 120: Republicans would love to defeat incoming House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders of Key West, who represents all of Monroe County and parts of Miami-Dade. The GOP is pinning its hopes on former Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson, who defeated Matt Gardi in the Republican primary with 56 percent of the almost 8,500 votes counted. Saunders is a cagy politician with around $56,000 in the bank. He is a solid favorite to defeat McPherson and TEA Party candidate Henry Llorella to win another term.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.