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Election Results: Central Florida Voters Send New Faces To Congress

Democrat Stephanie Murphy after defeating incumbent John Mica in the 7th Congressional District Race. Photo: Amy Green

Surprise Win Sends Newcomer Stephanie Murphy To Congress

Democrat Stephanie Murphy wins in the newly redrawn 7th Congressional District, which includes parts of Orange and Seminole counties.  She was well-funded, garnering support from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and gun-control advocate Gabby Giffords.

“I think people are just frustrated, and they’ve reached a point where they want change. And they want people to go to Washington who are willing to work on their behalf,” said Murphy, “and they’re just not going to tolerate the deadlock and dysfunction any longer.”

Mica points to the newly redrawn 7th Congressional District as one reason for his upset by Stephanie Murphy. “That combined with a record, a massive amount of money from outside interests – that’s the only way you could put it – determined the fate and the new representation in this district,” said Mica.

Mica is a former chairman of the House Transportation Committee whose impact on central Florida is visible in projects like SunRail and Orlando VA Medical Center.

Murphy is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who fled the communist country when she was an infant. She served as a national security specialist for the Department of Defense.

Demings & Soto Heading To Washington

There was hopeful cheering and impassioned booing throughout the night at the Orange County Democratic watch party as supporters, some in pantsuits in honor of their presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, watched results for the races come in.

In Orlando’s District 5 county commission race, newcomer Emily Bonilla unseated incumbent Ted Edwards.

Darren Soto, Val Demings, and Stephanie Murphy carried the Democrats into victory in three congressional races.

Juan Lopez, who heads the Orange County Democratic Party, said that ethnically diverse group of candidates is no coincidence. It’s a reflection of what the people are all kinds of races, all different kinds of ethnicities,” he said. “LGBT folks are getting into office now. The demographics of Orange County is changing.”

Other wins included Jerry Demings in the county sheriff race. And voters elected Aramis Ayala as state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties. She is Florida’s first African American state prosecutor.

Brevard County Sending Bill Posey Back To Congress

More than 300,000 voters turned out in Brevard to cast their ballots, a 77-percent turnout rate. Voters on Florida’s space coast elected republican Congressman Bill Posey to a fifth term in the 8th congressional district.

Two new state senators head to Tallahassee, Republicans Debbie Mayfield and Randy Fine.

County voters approved a half-penny sales tax to raise $300 million for restoration efforts of the Indian River Lagoon.

The Republican-heavy county gave republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a boost with about 57 percent of the vote.

Voters Turn Out Lights On Solar, Amendment 1

A controversial solar-energy ballot initiative fell short of the 60 percent voter approval it needed Tuesday, concluding for now one of the most-expensive constitutional amendment campaigns in Florida history.

Opponents who argued the amendment would hinder the development of alternative energy in Florida, celebrated the defeat of the measure, known as Amendment One, as most counties continued posting results.

Consumers for Smart Solar, a utility-backed group that spearheaded the proposal, didn’t immediately comment.

The state’s four major private utilities – Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric and Gulf Power – collectively spent more than $20.2 million on the proposal, which sought to place existing regulations regarding solar energy into the state Constitution.

But critics contended the measure could lead to “discriminatory charges” against rooftop solar users, as the ballot language said that people who haven’t installed solar on their property “are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.”

Amendment 2 Passage Brings Medical Marijuana To Florida

More than 70 percent of Florida voters said yes to legalize medical marijuana.

United For Care spokesman Ben Pollara spoke to a crowd of supporters in downtown Orlando, where he told them the win was a big deal. “It is a gigantic deal for moving medical marijuana forward,” said Pollar, “for proving that marijuana is medicine, it has been medicine for thousands of years.”

At a watch party in downtown Orlando, medical marijuana supporter Dani Hall started the evening cautiously optimistic. She ended the night in tears of joy.
“I’m overwhelmed, I’m so excited and emotional and I’m crying,” she said. “I’m excited for my kids.”

Hall has two autistic children she hopes will be able to access medical marijuana. Her next step? Finding a doctor for her children.

Opponents of Amendment 2 argued more children would be exposed to marijuana.

Election Results From Across Central Florida

CENTRAL FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL RACES

District 6
Ron DeSantis (R) – 59%
Bill McCullough (D) – 41%

District 7
John Mica (R) – 49%
Stephanie Murphy (D) – 51%

District 8
Bill Posey (R) – 63%
Corry Westbrook (D) – 33%
Bill Stinson (IAP-Independent American Party) – 4%

District 9
Wayne Liebnitzky (R) – 42%
Darren Soto (D) – 58%

District 10
Val Demings (D) – 65%
Thuy “Twee” Lowe (R) – 35%

District 11 
Dave Koller (D) – 32%
Daniel Webster (R) – 65%
Bruce Ray Riggs (NPA) – 3%

ORANGE COUNTY

Charter Amendment 1: adds requirements to the process of getting a citizen-based initiative placed on a ballot – 52%

Charter Amendment 2: changes the positions of Sheriff, Clerk of the Court, Supervisor of Elections, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, and Comptroller into nonpartisan elected positions subject to term limits – 73%

Charter Amendment 3: affirms that a change regarding term limits or nonpartisan elections, as referenced in Charter Amendment 2, would apply without further action – 87%

State Senate District 13
Dean Asher (R) – 42%
Linda Stewart (D) – 58%

State House District 47
Mike Miller, inc (R) – 53%
Beth Tuura (D) – 47%

Orange County Sheriff
Jerry Demings (D) – 65%
Spike Hopkins (R) – 35%

County Commissioner District 1
Bobby Olszweski – 53%
Betsy VanderLay – 47%

County Commissioner District 5
Emily Bonilla – 57%
Ted Edwards – 43%

SEMINOLE COUNTY

County Commissioner District 1 
Bob Dallari (R) – 57%
Walter Osborne (D) – 43%

County Commissioner District 5 
Brenda Carey (R) – 57%
Alexander Duncan (D) – 43%
VOLUSIA COUNTY

State Senate District 7
Curtis Ceballos (D) – 45%
Travis Hutson (R) – 55%

State House District 25
Noel Cheryl Bickford (D) – 62%
Tom Leak (R) – 38%

County Council Chairman
Jason Davis – 38%
Ed Kelly – 62%

County Council District 4
Heather Post – 54%
Al Smith – 46%

OSCEOLA COUNTY

County Sheriff
Russell Gibson (D) – 47%
Dave Sklarek (R) – 40%
Marco Lopez (NPA) – 12%
Timothy Devine (write-in) – 1%

County Commissioner District 1
Peggy Choudhry (D) – 61%
Jed Suhl (R) – 39%

County Commissioner District 3
Brandon Arrington (D) – 69%
Ivan Rivera (R) – 23%
Julio Diaz (NPA) – 4%
Tony Ferentinos (NPA) – 1%

County Commissioner District 5 
Fred Hawkins Jr (R) – 64%
Jeff Rivera (D) – 36%

BREVARD COUNTY

County Commissioner District 1 
Rita Pritchett (R) – 65%
Ron Taylor (D) – 35%

County Commissioner District 3 
Randy Foster (D) – 54%
John Tobia (R) – 46%

LAKE COUNTY

County Commissioners District 3 
Wendy Breeden (R) – 96%
Kiley Anderson (write-in) – 4%

County Commissioners District 5
Josh Blake (R) – 63%
Peter Tarby (D) – 37%


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