2012 elections preview: Florida voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries

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August 13, 2012

By Jennifer Springer

The primary season continues with elections in Florida tomorrow.

Here's what to watch for in Florida, where polling places will be open from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM Eastern Time .[1]

Contested Primaries in Florida -- August 14, 2012
U.S. House
(27 seats)
State Legislature
(160 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 8 (14.81%) 31 (19.38%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 11 (20.37%) 48 (30.00%)

Congress

U.S. House

United States House of Representatives elections in Florida, 2012

Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds 19 of the 25 Congressional seats from Florida. However, the state gained two seats after the 2010 census and will elect 27 representatives.

Florida has a total of 27 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 88 candidates have filed to run, made up of 30 Democratic challengers, 35 Republican challengers, and 23 incumbents. A total of 387 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 55.43% of possible primaries have been contested. Florida's contested figure of 35.19% (19 out of 54 possible party primaries) is less competitive than the national average.

23 incumbents are running for re-election in 2012, with 15 of them not facing any primary opposition. The 8 incumbents facing opposition in the primary are Cliff Stearns in the 3rd District, Ander Crenshaw in the 4th District, incumbents John L. Mica and Sandy Adams are facing off in the 7th District, C.W. Bill Young in the 13th District, Tom Rooney in the 17th District, Allen West in the 18th District, and Frederica S. Wilson in the 24th District.

This will be the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data.[2] On March 30, 2012, the National Journal released a list of the top ten most contorted congressional districts, as a result of redistricting.[3] The 14th District was included in the list.[3]

The Washington Post listed Florida as 1 of the 10 states that could determine whether Democrats retake the House or Republican holds its majority in 2013.[4] Florida ranked 1st on the list.[4]

According to the New York Times race ratings in July 2012, seven of the 27 districts are considered to be in play. Those are the 2nd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 18th, 22nd, and 26th districts.[5]

After Cliff Stearns left the 6th District to run in the 3rd District, the open seat drew a great deal of competition for the open Republican seat. A new super PAC called Coastal Florida's Future reported spending $32,000 on radio ads to help Jacksonville city councilman Richard Andrew Clark (R) in his bid for the nomination against six other candidates who are also running..[6]

Sandy Adams and John Mica were both drawn into the 7th District. Mica’s current district makes up 72 percent of the redrawn 6th District. Adams currently represents just over half of the 7th District.[7] The winner of the Republican primary between the two incumbents is heavily favored to win in the general election in November.[7]

Incumbent Vern Buchanan, who is seeking re-election in the updated 16th District, reportedly raised more than $330,000 since April 1, according to a July 16, 2012, article. However, almost half has been spent on a required refund of past illegal campaign donations, payments to attorneys dealing with four federal investigations and expenses for other court-related expenses.[8]

U.S. Senate

United States Senate elections in Florida, 2012

On the Democratic ticket, incumbent Bill Nelson faces a primary challenge from candidate Glenn Burkett. However, a significant number of Republican candidates are vying for the Republican nomination, in hopes of winning Nelson's seat in the general election. U.S. Representative Connie Mack, Mike McCalister, Marielena Stuart, and Dave Weldon are all running for the nomination.[9]

Connie Mack received the endorsement of 1st District Representative Jeff Miller.[10] Former Governor Charlie Crist confirmed support for Democrat Bill Nelson’s re-election bid against Republican Representative Connie Mack IV on August 1, 2012.[11] Not only did Crist announce that he planned to donate to Nelson, but he said he'd also appear at an August 1 fundraiser for the incumbent, headlined by former President Bill Clinton.[11]

The University of Virginia's Center for Politics published an article called Sabato's Crystal Ball on March 22, 2012, detailing the 8 races in the Senate in 2012 that will decide the political fate of which party will end up with control in 2013.[12] The Senate seat in Florida is the toss up state ranked second in likelihood of ending up Democratic, behind New Mexico's Senate seat.[12] Incumbent Bill Nelson's mediocre approval rating is the reasoning behind the "toss-up" classification of the Senate seat, but Nelson is expected to gain Democratic support in time for the election in 2012.[12] Nelson is also expected to face significant opposition from Connie Mack, U.S. representative from the 14th District, in the general election on November 6, 2012, if Mack can win the Republican nomination.[12]


Members of the U.S. House from Florida -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 6 10
     Republican Party 19 17
Total 25 27

State legislature

Florida State Senate elections, 2012 and Florida House of Representatives elections, 2012

There are 160 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 40 Senate seats and 120 House seats.

There are 31 (19.38%) contested Democratic primaries and 48 (30.00%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 79 (24.69%) races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 24.69% figure of total contested primaries in Florida is higher than the current national contested average of 19.38% for states that have had filing deadlines.

Senate

Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds the majority in the Florida State Senate.

There are 40 Florida State Senators. In 2012, 9 who are current members, or 22.5% of the total senate seats, will be ineligible to run for the senate again in November. Of them, 2 are Democratic state senators and 7 are Republican state senators. The 10 current members of the state senate who will be ineligible to run for re-election are: Democrats Gary Siplin and Larcenia Bullard and Republicans Dennis Jones, Evelyn Lynn, J.D. Alexander, Michael Bennett, Mike Fasano, Paula Dockery, and Stephen Wise.

Republican Party District 20: Incumbent Jack Latvala faces a primary challenge from Zahid Roy. The winner will face Ashley M. Rhodes-Courter D) in the general election.
Republican Party District 22: Two incumbents from the Florida House are running against each other for the open seat in the district. Jeff Brandes and James C. Frishe are running for the Republican nomination. No Democratic candidates are running in the district. However, the winner of the primary will face write-in candidate Raymond Alan Baker in the general election.
Republican Party District 24: The primary battle between candidates Tom Lee and Rachel Burgin for the nomination has become fairly intense, with each having ethics complaints filed against them going into the primary. Two Carrollwood residents filed an ethics complaint on August 8, 2012, alleging Tom Lee omitted assets from his personal financial disclosure form.[13] Lee said the complaint is wrong, insisting he reported all his assets properly on the form and that the complaint looks like "retaliation" against him by supporters of his opponent.[13] In July 2012 a Valrico lawyer accused Lee's competitor, Rachel Burgin, of directing donations to a political committee responsible for an attack mailer aimed at Lee.[14] Burgin denied the allegations.[14] The winner of the primary battle will face Elizabeth Belcher (D) in the general election.
Republican Party District 25: Candidates Melanie Peterson and Geoffrey Sommers are facing off for the nomination. Peterson received endorsements from South Florida Tea Party, NorthPAC, the NRA, the Palm Beach Post, Personhood FL ProLife PAC, United Christians of Florida, as well as several local and regional individuals and organizations.[15]
Democratic Party District 27: Two incumbents from the Florida House are running against each other for the open seat in the district. Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens are running for the Democratic nomination. No Republican candidates are running in the district. However, the winner of the primary will face write-in candidate Travis Genard Harris in the general election.
Republican Party District 34: Incumbent Ellyn Bogdanoff faces a primary challenge from Mike Lameyer in the Republican primary. The winner of the Republican nomination will face Democratic incumbent Maria Sachs in the general election. Sachs initially had a Democratic challenger, but candidate Martin David Kiar dropped out of the race to run for Broward County Commission seat.[16] Depending on the outcome of the Republican primary, the general election may end up pinning incumbent verses incumbent for the district seat.
Democratic Party District 39: The open seat has drawn a number of Democratic candidates running for the nomination. Dwight Bullard, James Bush III, Ron Saunders, John Johnson, and Sal Gutierrez are all running for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face Scott Hopes (R) in the general election.

House

Heading into the election, the Republican Party holds the majority in the Florida House of Representatives.

There are 120 representatives in the Florida House of Representatives. 12 of them, or 10%, are termed-out in 2012. Of these 12, 2 are Democratic and 10 are Republican. Florida state representatives whose seats are up for election in 2012 but who are unable to run because of the state's term limits are:

Democrats (2):

Republicans (10):


Democratic PartyRepublican Party District 7: The open seat has drawn a significant amount of competition in both primaries. Candidates Thomas Dickens, Robert Hill, and A.J. Smith are all running for the Democratic nomination. On the Republican ticket, four candidates, Halsey Beshears, Jamey Westbrook, Mike Williams, and Don Curtis, are all running for the nomination.
Republican Party District 17: Incumbent Ronald "Doc" Renuart, who first assumed office in 2008, faces two primary challengers, Kim J. Kendall and Mike Davis, in the Republican primary. The winner of the primary will face two Independent candidates, Angela Casey and Rebecca "Sue" Sharp, in the general election.
Republican Party District 27: David Santiago and George Trovato are running for the Republican nomination in the open seat. The winner of the primary will face Democratic candidate Dennis Mulder in the general election.
Republican Party District 29: Incumbent Chris Dorworth]], who first assumed office in 2007, faces two primary challengers John Moffitt and Jeffrey Onest in the Republican primary. The winner will face Democrat Mike Clelland in the general election.
Republican Party District 36: Four Republican candidates are facing off in the primary for both the nomination and the district seat itself. Because no Democratic candidates filed to run, the winner of the primary will face no general election competition. Mike Fasano, Michael Kennedy, James Mathieu, and Joseph Antimo Verola are all running on the Republican ticket.
Democratic Party District 46: Five Democratic candidates are facing off in the primary for both the nomination and the district seat itself. Because no Republican candidates filed to run, the winner of the primary will face no general election competition. Rosalind B. Johnson, Pam Powell, Bruce Antone, Jason Henry, and Sean Bradford are all running on the Democratic ticket.
Democratic Party District 61: Incumbent Betty Reed, who first assumed office in 2006, faces a primary challenge from candidate Tatiana M. Denson in the Democratic primary. The winner of the primary will face no opposition in the general election, and therefore is basically guaranteed the district seat.
Republican Party District 76: Three Republican candidates are running to decide the fate of the district seat. Michael Grant, Ray Rodrigues, and Chauncey Solinger are all running on the Republican ticket. The winner will face no opposition in the general election and is therefore basically guaranteed the district seat.
Republican Party District 79: Incumbent Matt Caldwell, who first assumed office in 2010, faces a primary challenge from Jon Larsen Shudlick in the Republican primary. The winner will face no opposition in the general election, and is therefore basically guaranteed the district seat.
Democratic Party District 87: Two Democrats, Dave Kerner and Mike Rios are running to decide the winner of the district seat. Because no opposition filed to run in the general election, the winner of the primary will take seat.[17]
Democratic Party District 88: Four Democratic candidates are facing off in the primary for both the nomination and the district seat itself. Because no Republican candidates filed to run, the winner of the primary will face no general election competition. Evelyn T. Garcia, Bobby Powell, Nikasha Wells, and Charles Bentel are all running for the nomination and the district seat.
Democratic Party District 100: Incumbents Joseph Gibbons and Evan Jenne, who both first assumed office in 2006, face off along with candidate Sheldon Jacob Lisbon in the Democratic primary. Because no other candidates filed to run on the Republican ticket, the winner of the primary will face no general election opposition, and is basically guaranteed the district seat.
Democratic Party District 107: Two incumbents, John Patrick Julien, who first assumed office in 2010, and Barbara Watson, who first assumed office in 2011, are facing each other in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidates filed to run in the general election. However, the winner of the primary will face two Independent candidates, Janice Denise Rhymes and Vickie Renee Williams, in the general election.
Democratic Party District 109: Incumbent Cynthia Stafford faces a primary challenge from Bernadine Bush in the Democratic primary. The winner of the primary will face no competition in the general election and is basically guaranteed the district seat.
Democratic Party District 113: Four Democratic candidates are facing off in the primary for both the nomination and the district seat itself. Because no Republican candidates filed to run, the winner of the primary will face no general election competition. Adam Marc Kravitz, Mark Weithorn, David Richardson, and Waldo Faura are all running for the nomination and the district seat.
Republican Party District 116: Two incumbents, Jose Felix Diaz and Ana Rivas Logan, who both assumed office in 2010, will battle for the Republican nomination. No Democratic candidates filed to run in either the primary or general election, but two independent candidates, Javier Daire and Maria Elisa Mena, will run against the winner of the incumbent vs. incumbent primary in the general election.



Florida State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 12 14
     Republican Party 28 26
Total 40 40


Florida House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 38 46
     Republican Party 81 '74
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 120 120


See also

Ballotpedia News

References

  1. Florida Voting Information "Voting on Election Day" Accessed August 29, 2012
  2. Florida 2012 Redistricting Map "Map" Accessed July 5, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 National Journal, "Modern Gerrymanders: 10 Most Contorted Congressional Districts—MAPS" Accessed March 31, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 Washington Post, "The 10 states that will determine control of the House in 2012" Accessed April 25, 2012
  5. New York Times "House Race Ratings," Accessed July 25, 2012
  6. FEC Reports "COASTAL FLORIDA'S FUTURE PAC Independent Expenditures" Accessed July 27, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 Roll Call, "Race Ratings: Florida Offers Democrats Chances at Pickups" Accessed February 28, 2012
  8. Herald Tribune "Buchanan legal expenses weigh on campaign funding" Accessed July 18, 2012
  9. Florida Elections Division "Candidate List" Accessed August 12, 2012
  10. Roll Call, "Jeff Miller Endorses Connie Mack IV for Senate" Accessed July 5, 2012
  11. 11.0 11.1 Tampa Bay Online "Charlie Crist backing Bill Nelson in Senate race" Accessed August 3, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Center for Politics "Tilting the Toss Ups – the Eight Races That Will Decide the Senate" Accessed April 9, 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 Tampa Bay Online "2 residents file ethics complaint against senate candidate Tom Lee" Accessed August 8, 2012
  14. 14.0 14.1 Tampa Bay Times "In nasty east Hillsborough race, now both Lee and Burgin face ethics complaints" Accessed August 8, 2012
  15. Vote Melanie, "Endorsements," accessed August 8, 2012
  16. Miami Herald "Rep. Martin Kiar will seek Broward County Commission seat" Accessed August 8, 2012
  17. Palm Beach Post "2 Democrats, no Republicans vie for Palm Beach County's new Hispanic-heavy House District 87" Accessed August 13, 2012