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2012 Florida Primaries done, looking forward to General Elections

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As the 2012 Primaries come to a close, the General Election match-ups are finally taking shape.

The League is including a spreadsheet with the General Election match-ups for State House, State Senate and Congressional races. As you are looking at the spreadsheet please note that these results are unofficial until formally approved by the Elections Canvassing Committee. They will meet next week to do so, per Florida law. Also, if a candidate does not win an election by more than half of one percent, Florida law requires that a recount of the votes cast is necessary, unless the defeated candidate waives such right in writing. Recounts are taking place in 3 races as noted in the spreadsheet.

Below is a breakdown of how the State House, State Senate, and Congressional races played out:

State House
Of the 37 Republican races 11 candidates were virtually elected to the House, due to little or no competition in the General election. One race is in a mandatory recount; HD 55 – Johnson v. Pigman where newcomer Carrie Pigman has a 26-vote lead.

On the other side of the aisle, of the 26 Democratic races, 12 were virtually elected to the House due to little or no competition in the General Election. One race in a mandatory recount;  HD 107 – Julien v. Watson where incumbent Barbara Watson was clinging to a 26-vote lead.

State Senate
There were eight Republican races tonight, all providing decisive victories. Seven of those candidates will face a General Election opponent.

The Democratic primaries had three races, with one (SD 27) headed to a manual recount.  Currently, Jeff Clemens leads Mack Bernard by 45 votes with a manual recount expected at some point on Aug. 15. The winner of that race will be elected to the Senate.  

Bottom line, HD 55 (Johnson v. Pigman), HD 107 (Julien v. Watson) and SD 27 (Bernard v. Clemens) are too close to call.

Congressional Primaries

District 2:
In the Democratic primary to decide who would face incumbent Rep. Steve Southerland, former FL State Senator Al Lawson defeated current FL State Rep Leonard Bembry. Bembry was considered the heavy favorite going in to yesterday, yet Lawson won with nearly 55-percent of the vote. Lawson, a very popular figure in Tallahassee could win this election, but a lot of work needs to be done with the new makeup of the district. While it still leans Democratic, Southerland has done a great job reaching out to "Blue Dog" Democrats.

District 3:
In the biggest surprise of the night, incumbent Republican Cliff Stearns was defeated by local veterinarian Ted Yoho. Going in, this looked to be a race between Stearns and current State Sen. Steve Oelrich, the former Alachua Sheriff. The ugly tone between Oelrich and Stearns probably benefited Yoho, who will now likely easily win election in November. 

District 4:
Ander Crenshaw easily wins this primary and will be re-elected easily in November. 

District 6:
Ron DeSantis, the favorite to take the GOP nod, won with nearly 39 percent of the vote. Current State Rep. Fred Costello was second with just over 22 percent of the vote. Democrat Heather Beavin easily took the nod on the Democratic side. A heavily leaning Republican district, we should expect Ron DeSantis, a Navy Reserve officer, to win this election.

District 7:
John Mica easily defeats Tea Party favorite Sandy Adams. This was a big blow to the Tea Party and a big win for the Republican "establishment." Jason Kendall easily won the Democratic nod, but this heavy Republican district will likely see the incumbent, Mica, returning to Washington.

District 9:
Another surprise here, favorite John "Q" Quinones was defeated by Todd Long. The loss is being blamed, and rightfully so, on Grayson's allies using negative mailers against Quinones and pushing voters toward Long, as they saw Long an easier opponent. Grayson will likely defeat Long in November and return to Congress which could be very, very interesting with he and Dan Webster both there.

District 13:
Bill Young easily defeats two challengers and will easily win re-election in November. 

District 14
EJ Otero wins the Republican primary easily and will face incumbent Kathy Castor. While everyone expects Castor to win re-election, this is a target race for the Republicans that should be watched.

District 17:
Tom Rooney easily wins against a fairly well-known challenger, Joe Arnold. All expect Rooney to be re-elected easily in November. 

District 18:
As expected, Allen West and Patrick Murphy win the Republican and Democratic nominations, respectively. Both won easily and are headed for one of the most, if not the most, heated General Election battles in the country. Murphy has it out for West, and the Democratic Party has him as a major target.

District 19:
This race was one of the toughest to call going in. Four of the Republican candidates were all within the margin of error going in. Current state Reps. Paige Kreegel and Gary Aubuchon were both vying for this against former Congressman Porter Goss' son and conservative radio talks how host Trey Radel. Radel was endorsed by current seat holder Connie Mack while Goss was endorsed by Jeb Bush. In the end, Radel takes it with 30 percent of the vote will easily win the November election.

District 22:
Kristin Jacobs was running against Lois Frankel to take on Republican Adam Hasner Ina toss-up seat. Frankel, a former state Rep and mayor of Palm Beach defeated Broward County Commissioner Jacobs and will face Hasner, a former Florida House Majority Leader in November. Hasner is currently down two points in polls, but has a ton of money raised (more than $1 million) and has the advantage of not having had a primary. This is a true toss-up.

District 23:
There is probably no race the Republicans are more interested in than this one. Karen Harrington won the GOP nod and will face incumbent Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. While there is a lot of talk that Wasserman-Schultz is vulnerable this year, it is just that, talk. She is likely to win re-election and defeat Jacobs.

District 24:
Frederica Wilson easily defeated a challenger and has now won re-election as there is no opponent for the General Election. 

District 26:
Joe Garcia easily defeats several challengers and will face incumbent David Rivera in November. Rivera, who has faced his share of ethical issues this election season, will be vulnerable, but is expected to receive a lot of help from the party establishment. While most expect Rivera to be re-elected, this could be very close. 

U.S. Senate Primaries
As expected both Bill Nelson (D) and Connie Mack (R) easily won their primary contests, and will face off in the General Election on Nov. 6.