Before I get into the results from all these races, couple of things. First, strangely, as of 10 a.m. this morning, only Broward and Palm Beach counties have not completed counting at least one of these categories: Absentee ballots, early voting, normal precinct voting and provisional ballots. Every other county in Florida has completed counting at least one, most of them at least three. So that's kinda hinky.
Also, and I realize this is purely anecdotal, but every black person I've talked to so far who voted yesterday had to present both their driver's license and their voter registration card. I've yet to talk to a white person who needed the voter registration card. So, that's also kinda hinky.
Anyway, on to the results (note that I'll only be going into races that had serious primaries):
As I called in my prediction for this, Crist won the Republican primary and Davis won the Democratic. I also said in that blog entry that Crist would win the general election, and I see no reason to amend that. Charlie "Big Slick" Crist is the GOP's answer to Bill Clinton: He's charismatic, weird rumors circle around his private life and he pulls issues from the other side to appeal to centrist voters (Clinton did it with welfare reform and NAFTA, Crist does it with gay civil unions, supporting the class-size amendment, and so on).
I called Harris to beat out the competition in this blog entry, and she did so, though she also garnered less than 50 percent of the vote, with Bill McBride garnering a health 30 percent. This is good news for Democrats. Bill Nelson will eviscerate Harris in the general election.
SOUTH FLORIDA U.S. HOUSE RACE PRIMARIES
As I predicted in this blog entry, Kendrick Meek slaughtered his competitor, Dufirstson Neree by something like 80 points. I thought it'd be a little closer than that, but incumbency is quite an advantage, and folks like Meek. I also called Meek to win the general, and there's no way I'm changing that now.
"Big Dave" Patlak won this Democratic primary by default after Daniel Manichello dropped out a while back. He'll face incumbent Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in the general election. It should be a good race, especially if Patlak manages to hammer home what an opportunistic, greedhead phony Ros-Lehtinen has been in her time in D.C. But, in the end, the Hispanics will prove the deciding factor in sending the first Hispanic congresswoman back to D.C.
It's ON! The netroots won out, and Clint Curtis, hero of stolen-election conspiracy theorists everywhere, beat out Andy Michaud to take on Tom Feeney in the general election. I still don't hold out any hope of Curtis actually winning, but this campaign should at least bring up some issues that this country just doesn't seem to want to deal with -- the illegitimacy of our current government, for example.
SOUTH FLORIDA STATE SENATE PRIMARIES
I said that I preferred Ted Deutch over Irv Slosberg in this blog entry, but that Slosberg would probably win. So it was with welcome surprise that I learned Deutch pulled it off by about 10 points, despite Slosberg's massive advertising campaign and huge war chest. I think voters suffered from Irv fatigue by the end. I know I did. If I ever hear that "Let Irv Serve" song again, I'm gonna puke.
I liked Graber, but figured that former Yahoo exec Jeremy Ring, with his bankload of money, would pull this one off. And unlike the Deutch/Slosberg race, I was on the money with this one. Ring beat Graber handily by more than 17 points.
Oh sweet schadenfreude. Despite his entire party turning against him, especially Jeb Bush, who campaigned for upstart opponent Frank Bolanos, incumbent J. Alex Villalobos won the Republican primary by about 500 votes, or less than 3 points. I wonder if Jeb cried? I sure as hell hope so. Villalobos will be persona non grata when he shows back up in Tallahassee, but what the hell. He's still got a job.
SOUTH FLORDA STATE HOUSE PRIMARIES
Of the four Democrats running, I called Harriet Lerman to win this one in my picks for South Florida state house races, mainly because the other three candidates all had problems -- Joseph Abruzzo jumped into this race late, angering many Democrats by abandoning his run for county commissioner and leaving the incumbent Republican uncontested; Mark Siegel had a sexual harassment lawsuit put out on him; and Maria Sachs is married to a major Republican fundrasier. But, in this case, I was dead wrong. Lerman came in last place, and Sachs won the day. But what the hell, if James Carville can stay married to Mary Matlin, Maria and her man shouldn't have a problem.
Perhaps the tightest primary race for the Democrats in the state house, I picked Kelly Skidmore to beat out her three opponents, and I was right -- barely. All four candidates landed in the 20s, with Skidmore beating second-place Len Turesky by less than 2 points.
I went out on a limb and picked Sallie Bell Tillman-Watson to win over four opponents, despite the fact that she raised little cash. She wound up in third behind Alain Jean and the winner, Perry Thurston. I probably should have gone with Thurston in this race, the only one of the five who wasn't a political novice, but sometimes I like to go for the underdog.
I really liked Amy Rose, but figured this election would go to Jim Waldman, who had a lot more experience in this district -- and indeed, Waldman won by about 5 points.
I liked Barry Sacharow here, but it was almost inevitable that he'd get killed by Elaine Schwartz, who had Hollywood big-wigs like Mayor Mara on her side. Schwartz will now be the Hollywood City Commission's voice in Tallahassee, and the city can expect a lot more of the sprawl that has plagued it since Mara and her cronies sold the entire city to developers. The people have spoken, and they deserve what they get.
I absolutely hate saying "this is a tossup." I always try to pick a winner, no matter how close it may be. But this was that rare race when I just couldn't pick a candidate -- the race could easily have gone to either Joe Gibbons or Henry Rose. And, indeed, Gibbons won by less than 400 votes out of more than 8,000 -- less than 3 points.
With five candidates in the Republican primary, it was tough to pick one here. I went with Robert Fernandez, who had raised the most cash and gained the endorsement of Jeb Bush, but he came in a close second to Frank Carollo, the brother of former Miami mayor Joe Carollo. He will go on to face Miami Beach City Commissioner Luis Garcia in the general election, in what may be a surprisingly competitive race, if Garcia can get the vote out in Miami Beach and steal away a few votes in Little Havana, where Carollo will rely on most of his votes.
As I expected, Monroe County Commissioner David Rice beat out his three competitors for the chance to face Ron Saunders in the general elecction. Unlike many state house races, this one has the chance to be real close, so despite raising a hefty amount of cash during the primary, Rice needs to keep right on fundraising. This has the possibility to be the most competitive state House race in Florida, if Saunders, the District 120 state rep. from 1986-1994, is up for it.
So, that about sums it up. Should be a couple great races in the general. The governorship, for one. Katherine Harris' continued self-destruction should be fun to watch. The Ron Klein/Clay Shaw House race in District 22 should be one of the best House races in the country, and if the press gives Clint Curtis any time, the District 24 race could be downright nasty in a way that even politics rarely gets. Look for the district 107 and 120 state house races to be reasonably entertaining.