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Democrats gain House seats

Published November 8, 2006


TALLAHASSEE - Democrats stopped more than a decade of losses in the state House Tuesday, taking back at least five seats from Republicans.

In the Senate, Republicans and Democrats each took at least one seat away from the other.

Republican dominance of the Legislature wasn't in danger; they held a 26-14 majority in the Senate and an 85-35 edge in the House going into the election.

In the House, Democrats Tuesday unseated a Republican in Orlando, took an open seat in the Tampa Bay area and won three South Florida seats that had been in GOP hands.

They beat Rep. Sheri McInvale of Orlando, a former Democrat who switched to the GOP last year. She lost to environmental lobbyist Scott Randolph. In Pinellas County, Bill Heller defeated Republican Angelo Cappelli for an open seat that had been held by Republican Frank Farkas. And Martin Kiar unseated Rep. Susan Goldstein, R-Weston, in South Florida, where other Democratic winners of once-GOP seats were former state Rep. Ron Saunders of Key West and Luis Garcia of Miami.

Republicans took a Senate seat that had been held by Democrat Rod Smith of Alachua, who ran unsuccessfully for governor. Alachua County Sheriff Steve Oelrich beat Rep. Ed Jennings, D-Gainesville. Democrats countered in the Tampa Bay area: Rep. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg, beat Rep. Kim Berfield, R-Clearwater, for retiring Republican Sen. Jim Sebesta's old seat.

[Last modified November 8, 2006, 02:50:12]

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