With hundreds of thousands of newly registered Florida voters since President Obama’s 2012 victory, most of them registering as independents, the 2016 election cycle proved incredibly unpredictable for those who make a living doing so. All 67 Florida counties offered early voting from October 29 through November 5, 2016, with additional days of early voting being allowed at the discretion of each county Supervisor of Elections. As early voting came to a close, more than half of Florida’s registered voters had already cast their ballots.
Due to the redistricting debacle of 2012 and the litigation which followed, each of Florida’s 40 state Senate seats were up election. Currently, the Republican-controlled state Senate has 26 Republican seats compared to 14 Democratic seats. While many predicted that the Democrats would gain at least 4 seats, by nights end, the Republicans only lost one seat, a significant victory for incoming President Negron and his leadership team. The Senate will be 25-15 favoring the Republicans.
As in each election cycle, all 120 state House seats were open. Currently, the Republican-controlled state House has 81 Republican seats compared to 39 Democratic seats. Following the general election, the Republicans lost only 2 seats (predictions were as high as 10), retaining their majority with 79 House seats versus 41 for Democrats.
Four constitutional amendments appeared on Florida’s November 8th statewide general election ballot with only one failing to gain the necessary 60 percent vote for passage. Amendment 1, the controversial solar-energy ballot initiative, fell short of the 60 percent voter approval required. The ballot initiative was one of the most expensive constitutional amendment campaigns in Florida history. As of this report, the amendment had received support of only about 51 percent of voters.
After organizational session, which starts on November 22, 2016, the committee assignments for both the House and Senate will be released. And incoming House Speaker Corcoran will have a host of reforms targeting how lobbyists engage with members of the House on behalf of clients.
Big Picture results from General Election:
- U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) who initially declined to run for reelection to pursue a presidential bid won his reelection bid retaining his Senate seat against Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy.
- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shocked the pollsters by prevailing in Florida, something which Mitt Romney and John McCain failed to do against President Obama. With 94.4 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, Trump was winning by 1.5 percent – a lead of almost 134,000 votes out of nearly 9.2 million cast.
- Charlie Crist, a former one-term Republican governor who lost the 2014 governor’s race as a Democrat, defeated U.S. Representative David Jolly (R-Indian Shores), in the redrawn Congressional District 13. Governor, now Congressman Crist, will be a likely vocal and popular member of the House Minority caucus.
- Orlando political newcomer Democrat Stephanie Murphy ousted veteran U.S. Representative John Mica (R-Winter) who was seeking his 13th term in Congress. This was a massive upset which has not received the deserved attention due to the shock of the presidential election results.
- The makeup of the Florida Congressional Delegation is now 16 Republicans to 11 Democrats
Competitive Senate Races:
District 8: Representative Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) defeated former Democratic state Senator and candidate for Governor, Rod Smith. This Republican victory in the Democratic stronghold of Gainesville is remarkable and will send shockwaves to future candidates thinking of taking on the Republican fund raising machine in Florida Senate races.
District 13: Former Democratic Representative Linda Stewart who represented Orange County in the House from 2012-2014 (previously County Board Chair) and Republican Dean Asher faced-off in a contested general election race with Stewart ultimately winning in the final general election vote count. This reflects the very significant demographic shift of Orange County voters.
District 18: In the contested Senate District 18 race between Representative Dana Young (R-Tampa), vs. Democrat Bob Buesing and NPA candidates Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove, Young won the seat with less than 50 percent of the vote.
District 37: A glimmer of positive for the Democrats came when incumbent Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami) was upset in his reelection bid by Democratic Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez (R-Miami).
District 39: Incumbent Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) emerged victorious in her bid to retain her seat against Democratic newcomer Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
District 40: Representative Frank Artiles (R-Miami) defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) to win this Miami-Dade County seat.
Competitive House Races:
District 30: Republican Representative Bob Cortes (R- Altamonte Springs) defeated Democratic newcomer Ryan Neal Yadav.
District 36: Democratic incumbent Representative Amanda Murphy (D-New Port Richey) lost her bid for reelection to Republican Amber Mariano.
District 47: Incumbent Representative Mike Miller (R-Winter Park) defeated Democratic challenger Beth Tuura. A huge disappointment for the Democrats as this was seen as a key pickup district.
District 59: Incumbent Representative Ross Spano (R-Brandon) soundly defeated Democrat Rena Frazier.
District 63: Incumbent Representative Shawn Harrison (R-Tampa) defeated Democratic newcomer Lisa Montelione. Again, a disappointing outcome for the Democrats.
District 93: Incumbent Representative George Moraitis (D-Fort Lauderdale) won his reelection by defeating Democrat Ken Keechl.
District 103: Incumbent Representative Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah) defeated Democratic candidate Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich.
District 105: Incumbent Representative Carlos Trujillo (R-Miami) defeated Democratic candidate Patricio Moreno.
District 114: Democrat Daisy Baez defeated Republican newcomer John Couriel.
District 115: Republican incumbent House member Michael Bileca (R-Miami) defeated Democrat Jeffrey Doc Solomon.
District 118: As of the time of this report, former Republican House member David Rivera was losing his bid to return to the Florida House to Democrat Robert Asencio by less than 50 votes.
Attached here are the unofficial election returns for State Senate and House seats from the Florida Division of Elections. Please do not hesitate to contact Gary Hunter (firstname.lastname@example.org) should you have any questions.