Roundup: Tampa Bay House Republicans knock out wins

Kim Berfield_Berny Jacques_Lawrence McClure_Traci Koster
Two incumbents were among those coasting to wins.

Republicans can check off several Tampa Bay House seats after a slew of wins Tuesday night.

The area easily re-elected two incumbents, one familiar face and a newcomer. Here’s the rundown:

HD 58

Former Rep. Kim Berfield is heading back to Tallahassee after winning Tuesday night’s election against Democratic nominee Bernie Fensterwald.

Berfield dominated the race for House District 58, winning with 57% of the vote, according to early results. Fensterwald, on the other hand, collected only 43%, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office, with 38% precincts reporting.

Berfield will go on to replace outgoing Rep. Chris Latvala, who took the District 5 seat on the Pinellas County Commission in June after running unopposed. Latvala endorsed Berfield in a competitive Primary Election, in which she bested tech entrepreneur Jason Holloway by taking 54% of the vote to Holloway’s 29%.

Berfield’s win isn’t too shocking in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 7,241 voters, according to L2 data. By the numbers, HD 58 is made up of 39,841 registered Democrats (31%), 47,082 registered Republicans (37%) and 38,640 nonpartisan or third-party voters (30%).

That third demographic may have been key to Berfield’s win. The redrawn Clearwater district showed a Republican lean in 2020, with 52% of voters supporting Donald Trump, and about 47% backing President Joe Biden.

Berfield has strong Republican roots in the county, representing the area in the state House from 2000-2006. After her service in the state Legislature, Berfield served as deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Health. She’s currently the vice president of government affairs and community health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

HD 59

Former prosecutor Berny Jacques will become the next Representative for state House District 59 after besting Democratic opponent Dawn Douglas.

Jacques took the seat with 56% of the vote to Douglas’ 45%, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office, with 15% precincts reporting. This will be his first term in office, replacing state Rep. Nick DiCeglie, who vacated his seat to run for Senate.

Jacques took the Republican nomination back in August, facing a competitive Primary against lawyer Jennifer Wilson. He won the nomination with 51% of the vote while Wilson collected 35%.

The newly drawn HD 59 is located in Pinellas County and includes Largo, Seminole, parts of Pinellas Park and some unincorporated areas of the county.

The district is pretty red, with 47,273 registered Republicans (38%), 38,180 registered Democrats (31%) and 36,828 nonpartisan or third-party voters (30%), according to L2 data. In 2020, 55% of voters within HD 59 voted for Trump, while only 44% went with Democrat Biden.

HD 66

Incumbent Republican Rep. Traci Koster will retain her seat after defeating Democratic challenger David Tillery.

Koster took the seat with 56% of the vote to Tillery’s 44%, according to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office, with partial reporting.

Koster, a Tampa lawyer, was first elected to the House in 2020. She entered the race originally as a replacement for then-incumbent Rep. Jamie Grant, who withdrew his name from the ballot to assume the job as Florida’s Chief Information Officer.

House District 66, which covers North Tampa, leans Republican, with 40,341 Democrats (32%), 47,381 Republicans (38%) and 35,639 nonpartisan or third-party voters (28%).

Only 48% of the district went to President Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election, while 52% was handed to Donald Trump. Even more, in 2018, Gov. Ron DeSantis took the district by nearly 53% of the vote, while Andrew Gillum only acquired 46%.

HD 68

Dover Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure will continue to represent the deep-red House District 68 after winning re-election against Democrat Lorissa Wright.

McClure took a whopping 63% of the vote, while Wright only mustered 37%, according to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office unofficial results with partial reporting.

McClure was first elected to the eastern Hillsborough County seat in a 2017 Special Election.

Redistricting has made the seat an even deeper shade of red, making his victory unsurprising. HD 68 is made up of 32,449 registered Democrats (29%), 45,797 registered Republicans (41%) and 32,105 nonpartisan or third-party voters (29%).

“Tonight, was a resounding affirmation of conservative leadership. Florida House Republicans, under the stewardship of Speaker-designate (Paul) Renner, now has 85 Republicans, giving House Republicans a significant majority,” said Rep. Daniel Perez, who is in line to be House Speaker during the 2024-26 term.

“Voters unequivocally declared that Florida is moving in the right direction under Republican governance § toward economic liberty, equality of opportunity, defense of life and protection of the unborn, and conservative ideals that advance and protect Floridians’ freedoms. I look forward to working with re-elected Governor Ron DeSantis and Speaker-designate Renner, as well as Florida Senate President-designate Kathleen Passidomo, as we enact policies that will make our state flourish.”

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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