Politics

Florida State Senators Keep Their Seats in Primaries

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: August 26, 2014 9:50 PM
Joe Negron, Geri Thompson, Jack Latvala

Joe Negron, Geri Thompson, Jack Latvala

Seven members of the Florida Senate had primary challenges on Tuesday and all of them bested their opponents. 

In a race matching two longtime Tallahassee figures against each other, Florida Sen. Geri Thompson, D-Orlando, beat former Sen. Gary Siplin in the Democratic primary to keep her seat in Central Florida. Siplin had left the Senate in 2012 after facing term limits and Thompson beat Victoria Siplin, his wife, in the primary.

With more than 23,400 votes cast on Tuesday, Thompson was well ahead, taking 64.1 percent while Siplin mustered 35.9 percent.

“Geraldine Thompson is a force for good in the community,” said Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant on Tuesday. “Her victory today is a testament to the tireless work she does on behalf of her constituents. The people of District 12 know that Sen. Thompson will be their voice as she continues to fight for better schools, equal pay for equal work for women, and to give working families a raise.”

Thompson will take on Edward DeAguilera who beat Fritz Jackson Seide in the Republican primary. This is a very secure Democratic district, making Thompson the favorite to head back to Tallahassee after the general election in November.

Over on the Republican side, two senators looking to lead the chamber after the 2016 elections -- Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart -- claimed big wins.

Negron routed challenger Brandon Cannon in the Republican primary on Tuesday. With almost 35,500 votes counted, Negron had 85.4 percent while Cannon took 14.6 percent of the vote.

“I really appreciate this community’s vote of confidence in the commitment we share for protecting our environment, supporting our seniors and safeguarding our constitutional rights," Negron said after his big win. “I look forward to continuing our grassroots campaign in the general election.”

Negron takes on Democrat Bruno Moore and a write-in candidate in November in what is a solid Republican district.

Over in the Tampa Bay area, Latvala once again beat Zahid Roy in the Republican primary. With almost 36,500 votes cast, Latvala had 87.3 percent of the vote while Roy took 12.7 percent. Libertarian Tony Caso awaits Latvala in the general election.

In Northeast Florida, Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, handled Derek Hankerson in the Republican primary, taking almost 70.4 percent of the vote. Thrasher will face a rematch with Democrat Kathleen Trued in November. Greg Fedlman is also running for the seat with no party affiliation.

In a rematch from a special congressional election earlier this year, Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, held off conservative activist Michael Dreikorn in the Republican primary. Both of them came up short against Curt Clawson earlier this year in the special election. Benacquisto won with 59.4 percent while Dreikorn took 40.6 percent. With the win, Benacquisto is headed back to Tallahassee as she has no opponents in the general election.

Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, also beat back a primary challenger in the form of Monique Miller, taking more than 65.2 percent of the more than 39,000 votes cast. Altman faces a write-in candidate come November.

In South Florida, Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, defeated Anis "Auguste" Blemur in the Democratic primary with 69 percent of the vote. Braynon faces a write-in challenger in the general election.



Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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