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Darren Dione Aquino has tested positive for coronavirus. Photo by Jacob Ogles


Darren Aquino wants recount after 8th place finish

“I should’ve won. I’m going to demand an investigation.”

A candidate who finished near the bottom of the Republican field in Florida’s 19th Congressional District wants to challenge results.

Darren Aquino, a disabilities advocate, expressed his strong dissatisfaction with the results of the primary.

“Tonight corruption [won] and it will cast a cloud over our president,” Aquino tweeted. “The Disable voters did not get their fundamental protection. Florida is in trouble I fear for my president. Lee county is corrupt.”

Quino finished in eighth place, winning just 1,466 votes out of 103,915 cast.

But in comments to Florida Politics, he stressed his concern isn’t about his placement but the low number of votes compared to the support he saw on the ground.

“I want to know where all the disabled votes went,” he said. “I want to know how many accommodations were facilitated to those that were bedridden.

But mostly, Aquino remains in disbelief at his low finish.

“I want a count and if they don’t give me one, I’m going to sue them for it,” he said. “I don’t believe this race. There is no way that I got only 1,400 votes.”

He’s convinced that vote totals, particularly in Lee County, don’t reflect all ballots cast. He said some disabled veterans in Cape Coral complained they were not properly accommodated with vote-by-mail ballots. Now he wants a full accounting of votes.

“The criminals in Lee County they threw out my votes,” he said.

Now he thinks Republicans risk losing the seat to Democrats in the General Election, unlikely considering retiring Rep. Frances Rooney won in 2018 with more than 62% of the vote. But after Cindy Banyai’s upset in the Democratic primary, he suspects Democrats can make the race competitive.

Communist Cindy look how well she did,” Aquino said. “They’ll use that against Byron and he will lose because of this horrible record.”

Banyai won with 28,749 votes out of 49,951 Democratic votes cast. Donalds won the GOP primary with 23,480 votes out of 103,915 cast. Of course, Banyai was in a two-person race and Donalds was one of nine Republicans running.

Aquino points to an internal poll from his campaign that showed him leading the field. He also appeared frequently on OAN.

“I should’ve won,” he said. “I’m going to demand an investigation.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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