Tuesday’s top-of-ticket results didn’t give Florida Democrats much reason to cheer, but incoming House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee says the party made decent inroads into the GOP’s intractable advantage in the state House.
The victories highlighted: Joy Goff-Marcil in HD 30, Geraldine Thompson in HD 44, Anna Eskamani in HD 47, Adam Hattersley in HD 59, Fentrice Driskell in HD 63, Jennifer Webb in HD 69, Delores Hogan Johnson in HD 84 and Cindy Polo in HD 103.
Eskamani, Hattersley, Webb, Johnson and Polo all won open seats previously controlled by the GOP, while Goff-Marcil reclaimed HD 30 from Republican Bob Cortes, Thompson knocked out Republican Robert “Bobby O” Olszewski just 13 months after he won the seat in a special election and Driskell cruised by Republican Shawn Harrison with a 6-point win.
“With nearly 10 new Democratic members in the Florida House of Representatives, this string of midterm victories, following this year’s special election wins, shows that voters are looking for leaders that reflect their values,” McGhee said. “This cycle, Florida House Democrats competed in 90 percent of Florida’s state House districts and made gains against the odds. I look forward to working alongside this new class of talented and diverse leaders in Tallahassee.”
While eight isn’t bad, eight is not “nearly 10.”
That estimation hinges on a pair of recounts going on in HD 26, the seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Patrick Henry and HD 89, the coastal Palm Beach County seat being vacated by term-limited GOP state Rep. Bill Hager. Republicans are up slightly in both contests.
Henry faced Republican challenger Elizabeth Fetterhoff in the general and with 61,038 ballots counted, she holds a 72-vote lead over the incumbent, a difference of just 0.12 percentage points.
Florida law triggers a recount if the result of a race is within 0.5 percentage points.
In HD 89, the two men vying to replace Hager, Republican accountant Mike Caruso and Ocean Ridge Democrat Jim Bonfiglio, were separated by 243 votes with 75,511 ballots counted. Percentage-wise, that split measures out to 0.32 percentage points, with Caruso leading 50.16 percent to Bonfiglio’s 49.84 percent.