Florida's Pandemic Primary
Voters picked candidates for November in primary elections around the state on August 18th in a strange election in which more than 2 million people voted by mail and campaigning was hindered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The process was reportedly fairly smooth, without obvious glitches of the kind that often are reported on Florida election days. In state news, one incumbent congressman, Republican Rep. Ross Spano, in the 15th Congressional District, lost in his Republican primary. Three members of the state House – Democratic Reps. Kim Daniels and Al Jacquet, and Republican Rep. Mike Hill – were ousted when they failed to win their primaries. More than 2.2 million Floridians had voted by mail as of Tuesday morning, a nearly 72% increase from the 1.28 million votes cast by mail in the state’s 2016 primary elections, according to the Florida Division of Elections website. This article will focus on local primary results within the Southwest Florida area.
Congressional District 19
Byron Donalds pulled out a win in a hotly contested and expensive nine-person Republican primary. Donalds will face Democrat Cindy Banyai in the Nov. 3 general election. Republican Francis Rooney had held the district, which stretches from Cape Coral in Lee County to the Ten Thousand Islands in Collier and includes Fort Myers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the barrier islands along both counties, since 2016, when he pledged not to serve more than two terms.
State Senate District 27
Ray Rodrigues defeated Heather Fitzenhagen in a heated GOP primary pitting two Republicans who represented Lee County in the state House against each other. Rodrigues will now face Democrat Rachel Brown in the general election.
State Representative District 76
Republican Adam Botana will face Democrat Anselm Weber in the State House District 76 race in November.
State Representative District 77
Republican Mike Giallombardo will face Democrat Joshua Lopez in the state House District 77 race in November.
State Representative District 78
Jenna Persons won the Republican primary for Florida's District 78 House seat.
State Representative District 80
Lauren Melo won the Republican primary against two opponents for state House District 80, which represents eastern Collier County and all of Hendry County.
State Representative District 105
Democrat Maureen Porras will face off against the Republican David Borrero to fill a seat for House District 105 vacated by Republican Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez after her push for a Senate run.
Lee County Commission, District 1
Kevin Ruane wins with 62% of the votes. Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane took a huge lead in his home city and defeated his opponent, Michael Dreikorn, in a primary election for county commissioner, advancing to the general election in November against a write-in candidate.
Lee County Commission, District 3
Ray Sandelli moves on to the general election with 62% of the votes. Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli won the Republican nomination Tuesday for a full term representing District 3 on the board, defeating Estero Village council member Nick Batos. He will face Bonita Springs resident Todd Truax, the Democratic nominee, in the Nov. 3 general election.
Lee County Commission, District 5
Frank Mann moves on to the general election with 67% of the votes. In November, he will face Democratic nominee Juan Gonzalez, a minister from Lehigh Acres
Collier County Commission, District 1
Rick Locastro moves on to the general election with 44% of the votes. Locastro replaced outgoing Collier County commissioner Donna Fiala in a tight primary race. LoCastro is now set to face Democrat and businessman John Jenkins on Nov. 3.
Collier County Commission, District 5
William McDaniel moves on to the general election with 69% of the votes. Commissioner Bill McDaniel, who won the District 5 seat in 2016, defeated primary challenger Mike Petscher in the Republican primary. McDaniel, 59, now faces Raymond Christopher, who switched from running as a Republican to no party affiliation, and Democrat David Turrubiartez Jr. in the general election Nov. 3
Fort Myers City Council, Ward 4
Connie Bennet-Martin with 35% of the votes and Lin Bochette with 40% of the votes move on to the general election. Because no candidate garnered more than 50% of the primary vote, the top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 3 General Election runoff. Anderson is leaving his Ward 4 chair to attempt to gain the mayoral seat.
Fort Myers City Council, Ward 6
Margy Metzler with 31% of the votes and Darla Betzer with 26% of the votes move on to the general election. Runoff. The Ward 6 council seat is currently held by Gaile Anthony. Instead of running for re-election, Anthony went for the mayoral seat opening up her council seat. Anthony lost Tuesday night.
Fort Myers Mayor
The Fort Myers mayoral race is headed to a runoff in November between Kevin B. Anderson and Jacquelyn D. McMiller. Mayor Randy Henderson resigned his term early to run for the District 19 congress seat, which he lost.
Cape Coral City Council, District 2
Dan Sheppard with 41% of the votes and Bryan DeLaHunt with 30% of the votes move on to the general election. Because no candidate garnered more than 50% of the primary vote, the top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 3 General Election runoff.
Cape Coral City Council, District 3
Tom Hayden with 39% of the vote and Chris Cammarota with 35% of the vote move on to the general election. Because no candidate garnered more than 50% of the primary vote, the top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 3 General Election runoff.
Cape Coral City Council, District 7
Jessica Cosden with 40% of the vote and Derrick Donnell with 34% of the vote move on to the general election. Because no candidate garnered more than 50% of the primary vote, the top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 3 General Election runoff.