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Sen. King to keep seat; Villalobos in tight race

Published September 6, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Former state Senate President Jim King beat back a challenge from conservative activist Randall Terry to hold on to his seat Tuesday, but another once-powerful Republican incumbent, Sen. Alex Villalobos, was in a tight race to remain in the Legislature.

King, one of the longest-serving legislators, had drawn the support of Gov. Jeb Bush in fending off a challenge from Terry, the activist who founded the antiabortion protest group Operation Rescue.

With 96 percent of precincts counted, King had 67 percent of the vote to Terry's 33 percent in a race marked by allegations of dirty politics from both sides.

King, of Jacksonville, will hold on to his seat, with no Democrats waiting in the heavily Republican northeast Florida district.

In Miami-Dade County, former Senate Majority Leader Villalobos had a narrow lead over School Board member Frank Bolanos in another closely watched legislative primary. Bolanos had the backing of Bush, who was angered when Villalobos voted against restoring a school voucher program that the governor supported.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Villalobos had 51 percent of the vote to Bolanos' 49 percent.

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

[Last modified September 6, 2006, 06:17:46]

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