State House and Senate Elections


 There are some close races to watch around the state this election cycle. The airwaves are heavy with political ads, automated calls to your telephone will only increase, and polls will continue to attempt to measure who is ahead in a particular race as we near Election Day.  We highlight the following races, which will likely go down to the wire and largely depend on turnout on November 4th.

In the Florida Senate, the most contested race is between Democrat incumbent Senator Maria Sachs and former Republican State Representative and Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, both from Fort Lauderdale. Sachs has the endorsement of the local teachers association, the Palm Beach Post and the Sun Sentinel, and Bognadoff has the backing of the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Nurses Association and the Florida Retail Federation.

In the Florida House, several incumbents are running close races. In District 29, polls show Democratic incumbent Representative Mike Clelland (Maitland) behind former Representative Scott Plakon (Longwood). In nearby House District 30, polls show Republican Bob Cortes, of Longwood, leading incumbent Representative Karen Castor Dentel, a Democrat from Maitland. Republican and former Representative Shawn Harrison is polling slightly ahead of Democratic incumbent Mark Danish (both from Tampa) in District 63. And Democratic incumbent Representative Linda Stewart of Orlando is polling behind Republican Mike Miller from Winter Park in District 47. Democrat incumbent Representative Dwight Dudley is holding onto the lead in polls against Republican challenger Bill Young, Jr. in District 68.

Contentious races in South Florida include Republican incumbent Representative Erik Fresen (Miami) against his Democratic opponent Daisy Baez (Coral Gables) in District 114 and the contest between Republican Daniel Diaz Leyva (Coral Gables) and incumbent Democrat Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez (Miami) in District 112.

Meanwhile, over in Hillsborough County, a Florida appeals court ruled that write-in candidate Daniel John Matthews was wrongly disqualified from the House District 64 election in July. The  lower-court ruling said Matthews was ineligible to run because he did not live in the district when he qualified. The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled the candidate needs to live in the district at the time of the election, not at qualifying. As we said in previous e-newsletters, write-in candidates have played an interesting role in this year’s election. Because of the lower court’s opinion, Republican candidate Miriam Steinberg was prepared to face incumbent Republican Representative Jamie Grant in the General Election. Should the ruling stand, Matthews would change the contest from a two-way to a three-way contest.  Steinberg’s attorney has said she plans to appeal the ruling.

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