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Election 2004

Some incumbent legislators in battles

Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, is challenged by a former legislator. Rep. Sheri McInvale, D-Orlando, may face a recount.

By Associated Press
Published September 1, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - Incumbent state Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, had a slim lead in vote counting Tuesday in her bid to keep her seat in a three-way primary.

With 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Bullard had 45 percent of the vote compared with 40 percent for former state Rep. Ron Saunders. Bullard's former aide, Sheila Chamberlain, had 15 percent.

The winner will face Republican Joseph Delaney in November.

Republican state Sen. Steve Wise, meanwhile, was easily re-elected to his Jacksonville seat, defeating his GOP primary opponent and having no Democratic opposition waiting in November.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Wise had 80 percent, Alan Rankin, 20 percent.

In addition to Wise, one other Senate incumbent won his primary. Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, defeated Geraldine Thompson, winning 60 percent of the vote to Thompson's 40 percent. Siplin will face Republican Franklin Cardona in November.

Wise's primary was the only Senate race with the winner automatically taking the seat. In the House, the winners of 17 seats were to be decided in the primary, with no one from the other party in the race.

One Democratic House incumbent was in a race too close to call and possibly headed for a recount: Rep. Sheri McInvale, D-Orlando, who faced party activist Marni Berger. The winner takes the seat as no Republican is seeking it.

With all precincts reporting, McInvale was ahead by 51 votes: 3,054 votes to 3,003 for Berger.

Among Republicans who won their seat Tuesday because they face no opposition in November was Rep. Dave Murzin, R-Pensacola, who took about 60 percent of the vote against challenger Richard Pope's 40 percent.

Other GOP incumbents who will return to their seats because of no November opposition were Reps. Bob Allen of Merritt Island, Gayle Harrell of Stuart and Juan Zapata of Miami.

Democratic incumbents who will return to their seats following primary wins Tuesday include Reps. Curtis Richardson of Tallahassee, Mary Brandenburg of West Palm Beach, Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale, Wilbert Holloway of Miami and Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall of Miami.

Several newcomers will join the Legislature following primary wins because the other party didn't run a candidate.

Umatilla dentist Alan Hays won a five-way Republican-only race to replace Rep. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, who is moving to the Senate.

Another newcomer who will head to the House is physician Paige Kreegel, who prevailed in a four-way GOP primary for a seat in parts of Charlotte and Lee counties.

All 120 House districts are up for election in November, but there were primaries in only 35.

The House also had two rare "open primaries." When only one party fields candidates and there are no write-in entries, voters from other parties and independents get to participate in the primary.

In House District 75, Democrats were able to vote along with Republicans in choosing from the three GOP candidates running to replace outgoing Rep. Carole Green, R-Fort Myers, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress.

In that race, with all precincts reporting, civil and environmental engineer Trudi Williams had 48 percent to 39 percent for former Rep. Ralph Livingston. Neal Noethlich had 13 percent.

Brandenburg also won in an open primary, defeating Elna Laun of Palm Beach.

In November, Republicans will be trying to maintain their 26-14 majority in the Senate and 81-39 advantage in the House.

[Last modified September 1, 2004, 01:09:34]

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