Once again, state Rep. Frank Farkas fended off a serious challenge from a Democratic opponent, winning a fourth term by a narrow margin Tuesday night.
With most of the precincts reporting, 52 percent of voters picked Farkas over political consultant Liz McCallum. This will be Farkas' last term in the state House before he will be forced out by term limits.
"It was an uphill battle," said Farkas, 48, a chiropractor. "But we're happy with the win, and we're happy to get back to work."
Farkas eclipsed McCallum in fundraising, amassing more than $200,000, an unusual sum for a state House race. McCallum raised about $70,000. Farkas used the money to blanket the district with mailers and buy television and radio ads calling attention to McCallum's status as a St. Petersburg newcomer. She moved to the district just a week before filing for candidacy and admitted that politics was a factor in her decision.
House District 52 includes most of Northeast St. Petersburg and extends west through Pinellas Park and Largo. The district is one of the most evenly split in the state: 40 percent of the voters are Republicans; 38 percent, Democrats; 4 percent, independents.
"I'm really proud of what I did here," said McCallum, 35. "I have no regrets. We worked as hard as we could."