Central Florida residents hit the polls to vote in the Florida primary

Floridians headed to the polls on Tuesday to decide several big federal, state, and local races.

The 2018 primary election drew record crowds.  More than 3.5 million voters cast ballots in Florida's primary election, or about 27 percent of the state's 13 million registered voters.  The overall turnout surpasses the last several primaries, including the 2010 primary, which also featured a wide-open race for governor. That year the turnout was 22 percent. The 2002 primary that featured former Attorney General Janet Reno vying for the Democratic nomination against Tampa attorney Bill McBride had turnout of nearly 29 percent. 

Gillum pulls off upset while DeSantis cruises to win

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has won the Democratic nomination in his quest to become Florida's first black governor.  Gillum won the primary Tuesday after upsetting a field of better-known and better funded candidates. 

Gillum faces Republican nominee U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the race to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott.  DeSantis rode a robust endorsement from President Donald Trump to victory Tuesday in Florida's Republican gubernatorial primary.  READ MORE.

U.S. Senate contest now set for November

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is vacating the governor's mansion to run for Senate. He easily won his primary, setting up a showdown with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson that is expected to be one of the nation's most competitive races. 

Scott dispatched San Diego businessman Rocky De La Fuente in a Republican primary Tuesday.  He was up by about 80 percentage points as statewide results started to be posted on the Florida Division of Elections website. READ MORE.


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Moody, Shaw to square off for attorney general

Former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody, who had to counter attacks by her primary opponent about being registered in the past as a Democrat, advanced Tuesday as the Republican nominee for attorney general.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Sean Shaw of Tampa won the Democratic nomination as he continues his bid to become the state’s first African-American attorney general.

Moody and Shaw will face off in November with Jeff Siskind, an attorney from Wellington running without a party affiliation to replace term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Caldwell, Fried ready to battle for agriculture commissioner

State Rep. Matt Caldwell topped a four-way Republican primary for agriculture commissioner Tuesday, while lawyer and medical-marijuana lobbyist Nikki Fried had an easier time emerging from a field of three Democrats to become her party’s nominee for the Cabinet post.

The two will now go head-to-head in November to replace term-limited Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who lost a bid for governor Tuesday night. READ MORE.

Jerry Demings elected Orange County Mayor

One of the biggest races in Central Florida on Tuesday was for the position of Orange County Mayor, to replace outgoing Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings is the projected winner in the race for Orange County Mayor. Demings led his nearest competitor, Orange County Commissioner  Pete Clark, by a margin of three to one.  Businessman Rob Panepinto trailed in third place.

This has been the most expensive mayoral primaries in Orange County ever, costing a total of $1.47 million for all three campaigns. READ MORE.

Jacobs elected Orange County School Board Chair

Teresa Jacobs, who has served as Orange County’s mayor for two terms and was forced to leave office due to limits, easily won her race for chair of the Orange County School board on Tuesday.  READ MORE.

Hotly contested congressional races set for November 

State legislator Mike Miller defeated two other Republicans in a congressional primary to face U.S. incumbent Democrat Rep. Stephanie Murphy in November.  Miller defeated Scott Sturgill on Tuesday. Murphy easily won the Democratic nomination for her battleground district in central Florida.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto is ending firebrand Alan Grayson's attempt to return to Congress.  Soto on Tuesday defeated the former congressman to win the Democratic nomination for a central Florida congressional seat. 

And, a Republican businessman with a military background will square off against a former top official in the administration of President Bill Clinton in the battle for a coastal Florida congressional seat held by Rep. Ron DeSantis.  Nancy Soderberg defeated two other Democrats to win the party primary for District 6. Former Army Green Beret Michael Waltz defeated two other GOP candidates to win the Republican nomination.  READ MORE