Florida Primary Wrap-up: Rubio Wins Big, Wasserman Schultz Holds Off Challenger


Tuesday’s slew of primaries in the Sunshine State produced few surprises as incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) cruised to a primary win and will face Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), who handily defeated Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Rubio received 1,019,393 votes and his challenger Manatee County residential developer Carlos Beruff received 262,498 votes. Rubio’s vote total nearly matched the entire number of ballots cast for the Democratic field, which was 1,055,561.

According to the current Real Clear Politics average, Rubio holds a 5.7 percent lead over Murphy in a head-to-head match-up.

In the other marquee race of the state’s primary night, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) beat challenger Tim Canova for the Democratic nod in Florida’s 23rd congressional district. Wasserman Schultz had been under fire after emails surfaced showing the Democratic National Committee under her leadership had shown favoritism to Hillary Clinton over her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who endorsed Canova earlier this year.

Wasserman Schultz will face Joe Kaufman of Weston, FL, but she is the favorite in the heavily Democratic congressional district.

Embattled incumbent Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) lost her primary in the solidly Democratic Florida’s 5th congressional district to former Florida State Sen. Al Lawson. Brown is currently under federal indictment for charges of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, and tax fraud.

In Florida’s 18th congressional district, which is currently held by Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Rep. Patrick Murphy, Brian Mast emerged in the crowded field to win the district’s Republican nomination and will face Democratic primary winner Randy Perkins. Mast, a former Army explosive ordnance disposal NCO who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, was an outspoken supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The district, which includes St. Lucie, Martin, and part of Palm Beach Counties, is rated by Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball to be a toss-up.

In other contests, Florida State Rep. Matt Gaetz won the GOP primary for the heavily Republican first congressional district. He will face Democratic challenger Steven Specht for the seat currently occupied by retiring Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL).

In a heavily contested fight for the Republican nod in Florida’s 2nd congressional district, which includes the eastern half of Florida’s panhandle, Neal Dunn narrowly defeated Mary Thomas and will face either Walter Dartland or Steve Crapps on the Democratic side; the two are separated by a little more than 100 votes. The seat is currently held by Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL), the daughter of former Florida governor and senator Bob Graham, who announced she was leaving Congress earlier this year.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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