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Sen. King surmounts challenge

Published September 6, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Former Florida Senate President Jim King appeared likely to hold on to his Senate seat, leading in early returns in a Republican primary Tuesday. But another once-powerful Republican incumbent, Sen. Alex Villalobos, was in a tight race.

In Miami-Dade County, former Senate Majority Leader Villalobos had a narrow lead over School Board member Frank Bolanos. Bolanos had the backing of Gov. Jeb Bush, who was angered when Villalobos voted against a proposed constitutional amendment to restore a school voucher program.

With 34 percent of precincts reporting, Villalobos had 52 percent of the vote; Bolanos, 48 percent.

In northeast Florida, King, one of the longest-serving members of the Legislature, was leading in his effort to fend off a challenge from conservative activist Randall Terry.

With 58 percent of the precincts reporting, King of Jacksonville had 66 percent. Terry, a Ponte Vedra activist known for his protests at abortion clinics and for being the spokesman for the parents of Terri Schiavo, had 34 percent.

The winner of the primary takes the seat, with no Democrat waiting in the heavily Republican district.

The Villalobos-Bolanos winner faces a little-known independent, Leighton W. Lang, in November.

In a Democratic primary in Broward County, with 19 percent of precincts reporting, Yahoo founder Jeremy Ring was leading Broward Mayor Ben Graber, 51 to 44 percent, for the seat of outgoing Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell, D-Tamarac, who is running for attorney general. No Republican is waiting in November.

[Last modified September 6, 2006, 01:19:25]

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