Al Lawson’s decisive win throughout the district (except Bay County where a local Alvin Peters won and Madison where local Leonard Bembry won) sets up the showdown we should have had in 2010 when the Democrats foolishly nominated the weak incumbent Alan Boyd by a narrow margin. Boyd was trounced in November by Steve Southerland, who will use his Panama City base to great advantage in this redrawn district. This race will be one to watch in November.
The biggest upset on Election Night. In retrospect, Senator Steve Oelrich’s run never got off the ground and Cliff Stearns out of touch incumbency was always going to be a tough sell in this environment and a significantly changed district. Enter Ted Yoho, who could quickly emerge as a new darling of the Tea Party. By all indications Yoho will be a more mature face on the Tea Party than the likes of Allen West and can be considered a giant killer to a certain extent.
Ron DeSantis used a strong showing in St John’s County to win the GOP Primary which is just about tantamount to election here. Heather Beaven by all indications is a decent Democratic candidate but has almost no chance in this strong GOP seat. Alex Sink got just 41% of the vote here in 2010, and unlike much of the rest of the state, this area’s demographic changes do not favor the Democrats. Both Volusia and Flagler Counties are producing stagnant if not declining numbers for Democratic candidates, while St Johns remains one of the worst medium sized counties in Florida for the party.
Todd Long’s win in the GOP Primary likely means this race is over and Alan Grayson returns to Congress. The Republicans are likely to fold up shop here and focus on holding other seats. Barack Obama carried this seat by 23 points in 2008 so it was always going to be an uphill struggle for the GOP. Grayson will have problems in the future if the Republicans nominate a Hispanic who has a moderate demeanor and reputation.
Trey Radel’s victory was fueled by a split between better qualified candidates and expect him to be a gadfly in Congress. Fortunately for Radel this revelation didn’t cost him the seat.
Kristin Jacobs attempts to wrestle the Democratic nomination from Lois Frankel were al;ways doomed to failure. Sadly now Frankel has to pivot quickly into November election mode against extremist Republican Adam Hasner. Barack Obama carried this district by 15 points in 2008 and even if he’s lost some support, he will still run strong here.
Joe Garcia will be the Democratic nominee in this district for the third straight election cycle and will face scandal plagued Republican David Rivera. Many local Democrats feel the party should have nominated Gloria Romero Roses instead in this seat which has performed consistently better for the party over the past few cycles. Rivera’s scandal will be the biggest issue of the campaign, partly because unlike the rest of the Florida’s House Republicans, Rivera has actually made an attempt to vote a more moderate line than his colleagues.