Qualifying Week – Day 5

Qualifying for state and local office ended today at Noon. Here are some of the highlights in the Florida Legislative races:

Elected by Default

Five out of twenty one State Senators: Dennis Jones (R-Seminole), Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland), Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton), Frederica Wilson (D-Miami), and Larcenia Bullard (D-Miami) as well as Senator-elect Garrect Richter (R-Naples). In the House, only 31 out of 120 State Representatives Ray Sansom (R-Destin) – the incoming Speaker of the Florida House, Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City), Marti Coley (R-Marianna), Jennifer Carroll (R-Jacksonville), Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville), Charles McBurney (R-Jacksonville), Larry Cretul (R-Ocala), Alan Hays (R-Umatilla), Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando), Steve Precourt (R-Orlando), Ron Schultz (R-Homosassa), Tom Anderson (R-Dunedin), Ed Hooper (R-Clearwater), Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg), Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel), Rich Glorioso (R-Plant City), Seth McKeel (R-Lakeland), Baxter Troutman (R-Winter Haven), Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), Gary Aubuchon (R-Cape Coral), Priscilla Ann Taylor (D-Palm Beach Gardens), Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton), Ari Abraham Porth (D-Coral Springs), Franklin Sands (D-Weston), Oscar Braynon II (D-Miami Gardens), Yolly Roberson (D-Miami), Joe Gibbons (D-Hallandale Beach), Ronald Brise (D-North Miami), Antiere Flores (R-Miami), JC Planas (R-Miami), and Marcelo Llorente (R-Miami). There are also two Representatives-elect Tom Grady (R-Naples) and Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach) who both qualified without opponents.

Virtually elected

State Representatives Kevin Ambler (R-Tampa), Mike Scionti (D-Tampa), Trudi Williams (R-Fort Myers), Perry Thurston, Jr (D-Ft Lauderdale), Elaine Schwartz (D-Hollywood), Eddy Gonzalez (R-Hialeah), and Julio Robaina (R-South Miami) all have only a single write-in candidate running against them. This means, in these seven own districts, their name will be the only one on the ballot.

Almost virtually elected

A number of legislative candidates face only opposition from candidates in minor parties. These Republicans and Democrats can rest easily, however, as a minor party candidate usually receives between 15 and 25% of the vote. This list of legislators is: State Senators Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville) who faces a Constitution Party of Florida candidate and Evelyn Lynn (R-Ormond Beach) who faces a No Party Affiliate candidate, as well as State Representatives Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park) who faces a British Reformed Sectarian Party candidate and Maria Sachs (D-Boca Raton) who faces a No Party Affiliate candidate. Four more legislators who can plan, effectively, make post-election plans.

Of the 161 seats in the Florida Legislature up for election in 2008, 50 are effectively uncontested, assuring victory for the Republican or Democrat candidate.

Open and Closed Primaries

The State of Sunshine wrote earlier this week about open and closed primaries. Here are the final lists of Florida House Districts in which three are only candidates from a single major party and/or a write in candidate (* = two write in candidates):

  • Open to Voters in All Parties: 37 (R), 78 (D), 92 (D), 94 (D), 100 (D), 109 (D), and 118.
  • Closed Only by Write Ins: 1 (R), 12 (R)*, 17 (R), 31 (R), 42 (R)*, 55 (D), 59 (D), 64 (R)*, and 106 (D).

House District 94 has six candidates and House District 109 has NINE candidates.

Party Scorecard

Florida Senate: There are 19 Senators not up for re-election this year due to their four-year terms, so the Florida Senate starts from a 13-6 Republican edge. Add the various districts listed above, and the balance is 18 Republicans and 11 Senators. The remaining 11 seats are contested without judging the relative strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.

Florida House: All 120 seats in the Florida House of Representatives are up for election this year. Based on unopposed, virtually unopposed, and seats with only one party running, Republicans lead 33-24. The remaining 63 seats are contested without judging the relative strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.

The State of Sunshine will review the races as the year progresses to see if the party balance will shift further this year.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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