State Legislative Election Recap
The 2020 Election results are extremely positive for Florida Farm Bureau with 100% of FarmPAC supported candidates winning in the general election. As far as we know, this is the first time this has ever happened. FarmPAC supported 73 candidates, and every one of them will be serving in the legislature in 2021.
In the Senate, FarmPAC supported eight Republicans and three Democrats. In the House, FarmPAC supported 54 Republicans and eight Democrats.
It was also a strong night for the Republican Party as they expanded their majority in the House and depending on the results of a recount in SD 37 they may have picked up a seat in the Senate.
The only negative from the night is the fact that Constitutional Amendment 2 passed by a small margin and will increase Florida’s minimum wage to $15/hr by 2026.
Vote By Mail—4.7 million ballots were cast by mail this election, nearly half of which were cast by Democrats. They made up 45% of Florida’s VBM total while Republicans made up 31%. Raw VBM totals for both parties were record highs this year.
Early Voting—4.3 million ballots were cast in Florida during the early vote period. Early voting served as an inverse of vote by mail with Republicans making up 45% of the total and Democrats making up 32%. Between VBM and early voting, the Democrats had cast 115K more ballots than their Republican counterparts heading into Election Day.
Election Day—Republicans stormed to an early lead on Election Day and never let up. They quickly erased the advantage Democrats accumulated through the early voting period and ended up casting over 839,000 ballots on Election Day alone.
Republicans made up just under 50% of the ballots cast on Election Day.
Unaffiliated voters cast more ballots than Democrats on Election Day.
The Republican Party received a resounding boost from Miami-Dade County. Initial tabulations from VBM and early voting only showed a nine-point lead for Joe Biden in a county that Hillary Clinton won by nearly 30 points.
The Democratic Party’s emphasis on mail-in voting resulted in historic returns, but those high numbers early on inadvertently masked a low turnout on Election Day.
STATE SENATE RESULTS
Republicans have likely expanded their majority in the Florida Senate. Going into the election, the Republicans had a 23-17 majority with two highly contested toss-up races. In SD 9 & SD 39 Democrats were expected to challenge Republican held seats but failed.
In SD 9, Republican Jason Brodeur narrowly defeated Democrat Patricia Sigman. In SD 39 Republican Ana Maria Rodriguez resoundingly defeated Democrat Javier Fernandez by 13 points. Both of these were FarmPAC supported candidates.
Republicans may also have upset a Democrat incumbent in SD 37. Democratic Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez is currently trailing Republican challenger Ileana Garcia by 21 votes. This race is headed to a recount.
Democrat Loranne Ausley is a FarmPAC supported candidate who was able to fend off a strong challenge in North Florida’s 3rd District.
Depending on the results of the recount in SD 37, the Republicans, under the leadership of President Wilton Simpson will have either a 23-17 or 24-16 advantage.
STATE HOUSE RESULTS
Republicans expanded their majority in the Florida House by flipping 5 seats held by Democrats. The makeup is now 78-42 in their favor. Out of 12 “toss-up” seats, Republicans won 10 of them, unseating 3 Democratic incumbents in the process.
Below are some of the highlights from FarmPAC supported candidates
- HD 21 – Incumbent Agriculture Committee Chair, Chuck Clemons-R has defeated Kayser Enneking-D by a narrow 2-point margin.
- HD 26 – Incumbent Elizabeth Fetterhoff-R has once again defeated Patrick Henry-D in HD 26.
- HD 29 – Incumbent Scott Plakon-R has held his seat with a 4-point victory over Tracey Kagan-D.
- HD 31—Farmer, Keith Truenow-R cruised to victory over Crissy Stile-D.
- HD 42—Fred Hawkins-R won a close race in Osceola and Polk Counties.
- HD 59 –Andrew Learned-D achieved a close win and has kept this seat in the hands of the Democratic Party.
- HD 81—Kelly Skidmore-D will once again represent Western Palm Beach County after a strong win.
- HD 84 – Republican Dana Trabulsy-R has upset incumbent Delores Hogan Johnson by 6 points.
- HD 85—Florida’s Farmer of the Year Rick Roth-R resoundingly pushed back a strong challenge with a 57-43 victory.
- HD 105 – Republican David Borrero has won this open contest over Democrat Maureen Porras.
- HD 120 – Republican Jim Mooney has won this open contest over Democrat Clint Barras.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT RESULTS
While Florida FarmPAC supported candidates went 73-0 on legislative races, the results of the Constitutional Amendments were not so favorable. FFBF opposed Amendment 2, a measure that increases Florida’s minimum wage to $15. This amendment narrowly crossed the 60% threshold. Farm Bureau also took a position on Amendment 4, supporting it because it makes the Constitutional Amendment process more deliberative. That amendment failed by a wide margin. FFBF did not take positions on the other Amendments.
- Amendment 1—Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections
- Amendment 2—Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage
- Amendment 3—All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet
- Amendment 4—Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments
- Amendment 5—Limitations on Homestead Property Tax Assessments; increased portability period to transfer accrued benefit
- Amendment 6—Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities
- Passed 89.7%-10.3%