State Rep. Matt Caldwell, who topped three opponents in Tuesday’s Republican primary for agriculture commissioner, won 43 of the state’s 67 counties, including his home county of Lee and urban centers of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward and Orange counties.
Caldwell, a real-estate appraiser from North Fort Myers, received 34.6 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast statewide in the primary, enough for a nearly 8 percentage-point victory.
In a review of county-by-county numbers, Caldwell also won in Volusia County, swept the Treasure Coast counties of Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie and carried numerous rural counties across the northern part of the state, according to figures posted by the state Division of Elections. Caldwell also finished second in 18 other counties, including Escambia, Duval and Hillsborough.
State Sen. Denise Grimsley, a Sebring Republican who finished second Tuesday with 26.63 percent of the vote, was the top vote-getter in nine counties: Glades, Calhoun, DeSoto, Hendry, Gulf, Okeechobee, Hardee, Highlands and Bay.
Former state Rep. Baxter Troutman, who heavily self-financed his campaign and finished just behind Grimsley in the statewide vote with 26 percent, won in 15 counties, including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Duval and Polk.
But Troutman, a businessman from Winter Haven, placed second in just 10 counties, including Lee, Collier and Santa Rosa.
Grimsley took second in 39 counties, including Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Brevard, Orlando, Palm Beach, Broward, Polk, Volusia, Marion, Sarasota and Seminole.
Mike McCalister, a palm-tree farmer and retired Army colonel from Plant City who mustered 12.77 percent of the vote, had his best showings, finishing in third place, in 31 counties, including Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Broward, Sumter and St. Lucie.
In the Democratic primary Tuesday for agriculture commissioner, attorney and medical marijuana lobbyist Nikki Fried won all but one county — Dixie — as she received 58.65 percent of the 1.4 million votes cast in a three-way contest.
Roy David Walker, an environmental scientist from Fort Lauderdale who finished second with 25.5 percent of the vote, topped Fried by 16 votes in Dixie, where 856 votes were cast.
Walker finished second in all but nine counties. Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter, who received 15.85 percent of the vote, took second in Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Glades, Hamilton, Hardee, Jackson and Suwannee counties.