As with most election cycles, the majority of action is in the Florida’s most populated region, up and down I-4. However, the other parts of the state do feature a handful of State House races to keep an eye on.
House District 7
Robert Hill (D) vs Halsey Beshears (R)
Obama 36% McCain 62%
Scott 49% Sink 46%
No Republican has won this area post reconstruction, but Halsey Beshears appears ready to make this district the final rural north Florida seat to flip from D to R. As recently as 1997, the Democrats held every rural seat north of Ocala. Beshears is a strong candidate, but Hill has some good local ties and will benefit from being perceived as a conservative.
House District 21
Incumbent Rep. Keith Perry (R) vs Andrew Morey (D)
Obama 50% McCain 48%
Scott 44% Sink 53%
This is the purest of toss-up seats in the state. An incumbent in Perry, running in a district that contains a substantial amount of new territory versus a Democrat in Morey with a strong activist following and a favorable performing district. Perry has raised money well and Morey came through a bruising primary with party backed candidate Aaron Bosshardt. However, in recent weeks Morey has had momentum and has seemingly closed the gap.
House District 34
Incumbent Rep. Jimmie Smith (R) vs. Former Rep./Senator Nancy Argenziano (NPA)
Obama 42% McCain 57%
Scott 55 % Sink 39%
Smith is popular locally with Republicans who perform well in this district, but Argenziano a former Republican who represented this area for 12 years in the legislature has unified local Democratic support and figures to win most independents and a few Republicans as well. It’s difficult to forecast where this seat may end up. Quite frankly it could be very close, or a rout in favor of either candidate.
House District 89
Incumbent Rep. Bill Hager (R) vs. Former House Speaker Tom Gustafson (D)
Obama 52% McCain 47%
Scott 50 % Sink 48%
This seat promises to perform well for President Obama who won here easily in 2008. Alex Sink’s numbers in the district were more of the typical Democratic performance in this area, but Obama remains popular and Gustafson has some cross over appeal. Still Hager is the favorite because of his well developed local ties.
House District 120
Ian Whitney (D) vs Holly Merrill Raschein
Obama 53% McCain 46%
Scott 47% Sink 49%
The open seat vacated by Democratic Leader Ron Saunders features the former aide for both Saunders, and the late Rep. Ken Sorensen, Holly Merrill Raschein against Ian Whitney. This area had been trending towards the GOP prior to 2008, but now has swung back towards the Democrats. Still Raschein is very well funded, while Saunders got a late start to the campaign in many ways. Still this seat could go either way.