Senate District 3 will remain blue for at least another two years.
The historically left-leaning district on Tuesday elected longtime Democratic lawmaker Loranne Ausley over GOP newcomer Marva Preston.
In all, Ausley collected 136,944 votes to Preston’s 119,836.
“My family and I spent the last day of the campaign together touring this beautifully diverse 11-county district,” Ausley said in a statement. “Having spent my life in the Big Bend, it is truly an honor that the citizens of Senate District 3 have put their trust in me to serve as their next Senator.”
Preston is a Crawfordville native and retired police officer. As a candidate who’s never held an elected office, her campaign focused on a “history of service,” which included time as a homicide detective, public investigator and an ordained minister.
Despite facing an uphill battle, Preston managed to gain several notable endorsements including Gov. Ron DeSantis and FSU football legend Bobby Bowden.
Alternatively, Ausley has served as the state representative for House District 9 since 2016. She also was a Florida House member from 2000 to 2008.
Ausley’s notable endorsements include former President Barack Obama and other area leaders such as Montford, Rep. Ramon Alexander and Congressman Al Lawson.
Florida’s SD 3 race arguably concludes as one of the most contentious, expensive and high-profile races in the state. Republicans and Democrats both spent thousands to flood the contest with attack ads, television and radio commercials, and mail flyers.
Ausley described the contest as an “emotional rollercoaster” that made her wonder if she should “walk away.”
She even acknowledged the race’s toll on the district’s constituents.
“I think the voters of Senate District 3 have seen enough,” she told reporters.
SD 3 covers mostly rural counties including Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties in North Florida.
Ausley committed to being a “voice for rural Florida” in her statement.