Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Florida elections in 2014

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June 10, 2014

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2014 Florida Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

Other 2014 Election coverage
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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

In the Florida State Legislature, there are seven former incumbents seeking seats once more in 2014. Two former state senators, Ellyn Bogdanoff (R) and Gary Siplin (D), are seeking a return. Bogdanoff was ousted in 2012 after just 2 years in the Senate when redistricting drew her against fellow incumbent Maria Sachs (D). Siplin was term-limited in 2012 and could not run for re-election. Three of the five attempting a comeback in the house, Fred Costello (R), Shawn Harrison (R) and Steven Perman (D), lost re-election bids in 2012 following their first term. Brad Drake (R) was a two-term state representative but chose not to run for re-election in 2012. Evan Jenne (D) filed to run in 2012 but did not appear on the primary election ballot.

June 20 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for Florida State Senate and Florida House of Representatives. Elections in 20 Senate districts and 120 House districts will consist of a primary election on August 26, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections, Florida State Senate elections and Florida House of Representatives elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Republican Party holds a majority in both state legislative chambers. Florida's office of Governor is held by Rick Scott (R), making the state one of 23 with a Republican state government trifecta.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is 30 seats, or 25 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are five districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[1]

Florida State Senate
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 14 Pending
     Republican Party 26 Pending
Total 40 40

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is twelve seats, or 20.0 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 53 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[2]

Florida House of Representatives
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 45 Pending
     Republican Party 75 Pending
Total 120 120
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Competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In Florida's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[3]

  • There are 17 open seats (12.1%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 22 incumbents (17.9%) face a primary challenger.
  • 58 districts (41.4%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing Florida Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 32.2% 9 19.6% 19 51.1% 37 34.3 17
2012 32.5% 10 32.7% 15 49.4% 30 38.2 21
2014 12.1% Pending 17.9% Pending 41.4% Pending 23.8 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the Florida State Senate.

Florida Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
0.0% 35.0% 25.0% 20.0

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 15 of the 20 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of two Democrats and 13 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in five of the 20 districts up for election. Just one of these seats, District 34, held mildly competitive elections in 2012.

  • District 34: Incumbent Maria Sachs (D) will face the winner of the Republican primary. Sachs won in 2012 by a margin of victory of 6 percent.

Primary challenges

A total of seven incumbents will face primary competition on August 26. Another 13 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state senators facing primary competition are:

Retiring incumbents

No incumbent senators are retiring this year.

House

The following table details competitiveness in the Florida House of Representatives.

Florida House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
14.2% 12.5% 44.2% 23.6

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 67 (55.8%) of the 120 seats up for election, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 27 Democrats and 40 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 53 of the 120 districts up for election. Twelve of those seats held competitive elections in 2012 with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Eight other elections were mildly competitive, with a margin of victory of 5 to 10 percent. Two seats that held competitive elections in 2012 have only one major party candidate in 2014. Those districts are:

Competitive

  • District 29: Incumbent Mike Clelland (D) will face Scott Plakon (R) in the general election. Clelland won by a margin of victory of 0.2 percent in 2012.
  • District 41: Incumbent John Wood (R) will face Celestyne Williams (D) in the general election. Wood won by a margin of victory of 3 percent in 2012.
  • District 42: Incumbent Mike LaRosa (R) will face the winner of the Democratic primary in the general election. LaRosa won by a margin of victory of 0.8 percent in 2012.
  • District 47: Incumbent Linda Stewart (D) will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election. Stewart won by a margin of victory of 5 percent in 2012.
  • District 53: Incumbent John Tobia (R) will face Tim Street (R) in the Republican primary. The winner will go on to face Santa Isabel Wright (D), David A. Kearns (I) and Kourtney Ann Waldron (I) in the general election. Tobia won as a Democrat by a margin of victory of 5 percent in 2012.
  • District 59: Incumbent Ross Spano (R) will face Donna Lee Fore (D) in the general election. Spano won by a margin of victory of 2 percent in 2012.
  • District 63: Incumbent Mark Alan Danish (D) will face Shawn Harrison (R) in the general election. Danish won by a margin of victory of 1 percent in 2012.
  • District 69: Incumbent Kathleen Peters (R) will face Scott T. Orsini (D) in the general election. Peters won by a margin of victory of 5 percent in 2012.
  • District 84: Incumbent Larry Lee, Jr. (D) will face Rob Siedlecki (R) in the general election. Lee won by a margin of victory of 4 percent in 2012.
  • District 89: Incumbent Bill Hager (R) will face David Ryan Silvers (D) in the general election. Hager won by a margin of victory of 5 percent in 2012.
  • District 114: Incumbent Erik Fresen (R) will face Daisy Josefina Baez (D) and Ross Hancock (I) in the general election. Fresen won by a margin of victory of 2 percent in 2012.
  • District 115: Incumbent Michael Bileca (R) will face Kristopher D. Decossard (D) in the general election. Bileca won by a margin of victory of 5 percent in 2012.

Mildly competitive

  • District 30: Incumbent Karen Castor Dentel (D) will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election. Dentel won by a margin of victory of 6 percent in 2012.
  • District 65: Incumbent Carl Zimmermann (D) will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election. Zimmermann won by a margin of victory of 6 percent in 2012.
  • District 66: Incumbent Larry Ahern (R) will face Lorena Grizzle (D) in the general election. Spano won by a margin of victory of 6 percent in 2012.
  • District 67: Three Democrats and two Republicans will vie for the seat being vacated by Ed Hooper (R). Hooper won by a margin of victory of 6 percent in 2012.
  • District 68: Incumbent Dwight Dudley (D) will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election. Dudley won by a margin of victory of 7 percent in 2012.
  • District 72: Incumbent Ray Pilon (R) will face Greg Para (D) in the general election. Pilon won by a margin of victory of 8 percent in 2012.
  • District 93: Incumbent George Moraitis (R) will face Scott Herman (D) in the general election. Moraitis won by a margin of victory of 10 percent in 2012.
  • District 112: Incumbent Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) will face Daniel Diaz Leyva (R) in the general election. Rodriguez won by a margin of victory of 7 percent in 2012.

Previously Competitive, Now Unopposed

  • District 90: Incumbent Lori Berman (D) is unopposed in both the Democratic primary and the general election. Berman won by a margin of victory of 4 percent in 2012.
  • District 120: Incumbent Holly Merrill Raschein (R) is unopposed in both the Republican primary and the general election. Raschein won by a margin of victory of 5 percent in 2012.

Primary challenges

A total of 15 incumbents will face primary competition on August 26. Seventeen incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 88 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state representatives facing primary competition include:

Retiring incumbents

Seventeen incumbent representatives, six Democrats and eleven Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 103 (85.8%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Marti Coley Ends.png Republican House District 5
Jimmy Patronis Ends.png Republican House District 6
Reggie Fullwood Electiondot.png Democratic House District 13
Daniel Davis Ends.png Republican House District 15
Charles David Hood Ends.png Republican House District 25
Bryan Nelson Ends.png Republican House District 31
Robert Schenck Ends.png Republican House District 35
Will Weatherford Ends.png Republican House District 38
Seth McKeel Ends.png Republican House District 40
Betty Reed Electiondot.png Democratic House District 61
Ed Hooper Ends.png Republican House District 67
Doug Holder Ends.png Republican House District 74
Perry Thurston Electiondot.png Democratic House District 94
James Waldman Electiondot.png Democratic House District 96
Elaine Schwartz Electiondot.png Democratic House District 99
Joseph Gibbons Electiondot.png Democratic House District 100
Eduardo Gonzalez Ends.png Republican House District 111

See also

External links

References