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Travis Hutson Wins Senate Seat, Paul Renner Wins House in Special Election

| April 7, 2015

Paul Renner, left, and Travis Hutson. (© FlaglerLive)

Paul Renner, left, and Travis Hutson. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 7:31 p.m.

Republicans Travis Hutson and Paul Renner have won the special election for Florida Senate District 6 and House District 24, respectively. Hutson defeated Democrat David Cox. Renner defeated Adam Morley.

With early voting, mailed in ballots and all but five precincts reporting in Flagler County, Hutson and Renner were leading their opponents by nearly identical margins of 66 to 33 percent. Their margins in other counties was similarly insurmountable.

In the four counties covered by Hutson’s Senate district, Hutson was winning with 69 percent of the vote to Cox’s 31 percent. Renner was winning with 67 percent to Morley’s 33 percent. Republicans voted in much larger proportions.

The special election was triggered by former Sen. John Thrasher’s appointment as president of Florida State University. A third election, for House District 17, a seat vacated by Ronald “Doc” Renuart, who resigned it to challenge Hutson in the GOP primary for the Senate seat, was won by Republican Cyndi Stevenson with 78 percent of the vote. She defeated Judy Stevens, an independent.

Hutson and Renner will be sworn in at the mid-point of the ongoing legislative session.

The combined voter turnout in the four counties holding the special elections–Flagler, St. Johns, Volusia and Putnam–was 9.9 percent.

Today’s earlier story is below.

Flagler Votes for House and Senate Seats Today As Republicans Are Outpolling Democrats 2-1

It may be hard to tell. But there is an election in Palm Coast and Flagler County today as voters decide who will represent them in the Florida House and Senate.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. Two races are being decided locally: Republican Travis Hutson, who today officially resigns his seat in the House, which he’s held for a little over two years, is hoping to move up to the Senate. His only obstacle is Democrat David Cox of Daytona Beach, who last November lost against then-freshman Rep. Ron DeSantis in a congressional race.

In the race for the House seat Hutson vacated, attorney Paul Renner, a Republican formerly of Jacksonville and now of Palm Coast, is running against Democrat Adam Morley, who until recently ran a recycling business in St. Johns County.

The two contests’ conclusions are all but foregone: Renner and Hutson raised a combined $700,000 and spent most of that. Their opponents raised all of about $5,000 between them. Their presence on the ballot is more of a formality than a serious challenge, not least because Democrats themselves have little stomach for this election: they, too, know that the outcome has already been decided. The numbers point to Democrats’ indifference. As of today, Democrats accounted for just 27 percent of the ballots cast. Republicans accounted for 56 percent. Independents and members of minor parties accounted for 17 percent.

If nothing else, that 56 percent GOP figure all but guarantees a GOP victory today.

Of Flagler’s 73,336 registered voters, 33 percent are Democrats, 36 percent are Republicans, and the rest are either independent or members of minor parties.

All registered voters–Democrats, Republicans, Independents, minor party–may cast a ballot in the election for both seats regardless of where they live. But turnout is expected to be minimal.

In Flagler County, just 1,272 people had cast ballots in the eight days of early voting (352 ballots cast at the supervisor’s office, 920 cast at the public library in Palm Coast, for an average of 159 ballots per day), though an impressive 5,048 people cast ballots by mail, for a total of 6,320 ballots cast before today. For a special election drawing little interest or excitement, that’s not a terrible showing.

And for the first time in the Supervisor of Elections’ office’s history, the supervisor, Kaiti Lenhart, who’s always been the office’s webmaster in every sense of the term, is making turnout statistics available in real time: so far today, for example–as of close to noon–741 people had cast ballots. Not only are the numbers provided raw, but so are breakdowns by precinct, by party, and by date.

You can see the running tally in real time here. Precinct maps and locations are here. Polls close at 7 p.m.

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39 Responses for “Travis Hutson Wins Senate Seat, Paul Renner Wins House in Special Election”

  1. confidential says:

    Absence of “Vote Here” signs near the SOE office tells clearly who runs the show now …no longer Kimberle Weeks that for sure, would have put the “Vote Here” signs with flying colors to make sure that voter suppression was not at work but instead her honest way to run all elections.
    Should we complain to Tallahassee the absence of those signs near the current SOE offices today?

    [Note: there were no “Vote Here” signs at the SEO’s office because it’s not a voting precinct on Election Day. FlaglerLive in an earlier version of the article mistakenly refrred to the SEO’s office as a voting location–which it is only for early voting days.–FL]

  2. tulip says:

    I very much like the way Katie has set up the voting results. Nice job and easily understood.

  3. Diana L says:

    Orchastrated and bought and paid for by the Republican Party. Renner and Hutson will represent themselves not the people that need them. We The People, what a joke.

    • Capt Clark says:

      To many “lazy” pot smoking demoncrats staying home. They only vote when the outcome will get them something FREE or there’s a black man or liberal woman, in the race !

      • Diana L says:

        Wow, that comment says more about you than it does anything else.

      • Nancy N. says:

        This Democrat didn’t stay home. Oh and I don’t smoke pot and I am a small business owner who works about 60 hours a week.

        Where were all the Republican buddies, Captain? A miserable percentage of them turned out today too. 2400 Democrats voted in this election knowing we were almost certainly doing nothing but registering our dissent and respecting the sanctity of the two party process by showing up. Your people couldn’t be bothered to even show up to ensure a certain victory. How sad is that?

        • Layla says:

          “Your people?” That in itself is sad. The day we lost this country was when the voters began to vote by party affiliation.

      • Obama 2015 says:

        And you again are the reason why I vote Democrat. How about the fact most people had no idea what this election was for and who the Democrat that was running was. I saw no signs, received no ads and didn’t see anything in the paper or on the internet. Plus these seats are mostly leaning republican so no way a democrat would have won.

        Also tell me what Obama has given me for free? I am still waiting for me Obamacheck in the mail.

        And before you start.. the Obamaphone was started by Regan and social services are the same way Bush I and II had it before Obama was president.

    • Omer Smith says:

      Where is the Democratic Party and the financial support? They knew as well as many Republicans and others through the print and electronic media that this is basically a formality to cover the procedures governed by law. Nothing corrupt. Nothing bought or sold. If you believe “We the people” is a joke, then you are sadly misinformed. The Nation was not to be a “right wing” or “left wing” governed. We are a government “of the people, for the people and by the people” and in that millions must be pleased and that ain’t gonna’ happen for everyone. So, we take the best route possible say somewhere in between and continue this experiment in a Democratic Republic form of government. How do we convince all registered voters to vote, regardless of the projected outcome? Good question. Maybe our information media is too efficient for our own good. For example, National political races are sometimes predicted hours before before all time zones have closed the polls. Registered voters sometimes ask why should I vote, the media predicted my least liked candidate the winner? As for the candidates themselves, just like every other profession, there are the good with the bad and work with it. I am not a doomsday person. So, I believe we will survive as a Nation and State regardless of our political ideology.

  4. Cypress Grand says:

    “Vote Here” signs were out over the weekend! Today is Election Day! Confidential needs a life!!!

  5. confidential says:

    There is a good reason for historically past Flagler SOE’s “not showing turnout statistics in real time” because for sure can be a discouraging reason to NOT get out and vote for those later on the day Democrats or NPA’s voters, that take the time after work to show up on the precincts to vote, given the overwhelming numbers shown by already voted Rep’s. Why to bother and inconvenience to go to the precinct and vote if DEMS are so much behind in ballot numbers anyway?
    But no so fast yet ..because the flame of hope is that many Reps (like myself) and NPA’s voted for Democrats Adam Morley and David Cox today and for some overdue change in Tallahassee.
    Better watch the potential manipulations of the canvassing board next! As now the electorate no longer has the watchful eyes of Kimberle Weeks and Dorleen during their meetings!

    • Nancy N. says:

      If by “watchful eyes” you mean “illegal wiretaps” I think we’ll manage just fine without them, thanks.

  6. Lancer says:

    Money donated to candidates is only good if it comes to democrat candidates, right?

    Here’s a fact: Republicans in the District outnumber Democrats. That’s not a bad thing.

  7. Sherry E says:

    Right On Diana and Confidential says!

    I just came back from voting. Why I couldn’t vote at the Flagler Beach City Hall. . . when I live in Flagler Beach is beyond me! I was sent to the Methodist church, on a side street. 15 blocks South.
    There were “Vote Here” signs on the church property, but nothing on A1A or on any street corners to help anyone actually find that polling place!

    Voter suppression . . . and hoop jumping. . . still alive and well!

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Why would there be signs on A1A? You’re voting..not looking for a garage sale. If you don’t know where the place is, look it up before heading there. Have we become so lazy that we need signs on every corner to point the way? Its a pretty small town.

    • voncile cobbs says:

      Sherry – Obviously Flagler Beach City Hall is NOT your district voting precinct., the Methodist church IS.

    • Bill Hazz says:

      So Sherry E What does your Voter Information Card tell you?

  8. keeping it real says:

    Goodbye democraps!

    • IvaHadit says:

      “Democraps”? LOL! Last time i heard that juvenile term was in the 1990’s from my 12-yr old neice.
      “Goodbye Democraps”? Well, since we’re being so mature, “So long, Repuglapoops”! Nayh, nayh.

    • Nancy N. says:

      Maybe instead of throwing stones you better be looking around to see if you live in a glass house.

  9. confidential says:


  10. Ed says:

    Why was the election poll deputy in st johns park sitting in his white suv vehicle before 7 pm when the polls were open? i was told he was sitting in the white suv before the polls closed at the corner of county road 305 and county road 2006 instead of at the polling location. I’m also told he was supposed to be at the polling location and was to stand in line behind the last voter after announcing the polls closed at 7 pm? He couldnt do this if he wasnt there, and was in his vehicle at the corner. Did this polling location close early? Who knows the laws relating to the poll deputy’s job? New Supervisor, new rules?

    Were all the polling locations up at 7 am?

    Can anyone explain why it took until 8:20 to get all results in for 23 of 23 precincts? It took like 20 minutes to get the last precincts results.

    • Pat says:

      “I was told”. In a court of law that is considered speculation and needs to be checked out before saying something that isn’t true. Any proof? Not that I care one way or the other but I believe saying “I heard something or someone told me something is not quite the truth. I’m guessing you weren’t happy with the results. Had it been the other way would it have made any difference in your posting?

  11. Sandra Reynolds says:

    Very discouraging results. Yes there are more registered Republicans but the numbers show a larger percentage of the registered Reps bothered to vote, not so the Dems. Money always win, regardless of the candidate or his/her message. Also discouraging reading some of the comments on here. So uncalled for. is it any wonder why many don’t want to be bothered with the nastiness in politics?

    • Layla says:

      Show up and vote, get everybody you know to show up and vote, money or no money, and watch what happens. Yes, you CAN vote them out. But you have to VOTE to accomplish it.

      That’s the beautiful thing about voting, you don’t have to have money to vote. And it doesn’t matter how much money you have, or you donate, you still only get one vote. Use it.

    • Layla says:

      Show up and vote, get everybody you know to show up and vote, money or no money, and watch what happens. Yes, you CAN vote them out. But you have to VOTE to accomplish it.

      That’s the beautiful thing about voting, you don’t have to have money to vote. And it doesn’t matter how much money you have, or you donate, you still only get one vote. Use it. Show up and make it matter. Voter suppression is being caused by those who won’t participate in the process because they believe it doesn’t matter. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.

  12. Retired FF says:

    Yeah,more liberal Dems. kept out of office. Maybe, just maybe there’s still hope for our country. God Bless America!

  13. Sherry E says:

    Yes, we live in a small town. . . then why can’t we ALL conveniently go to ANY polling place in the county to vote? The technology is certainly available to instantaneously record a voter’s “sign in” at any polling place within the county and the computerized voter registration records verify address, etc.

    We have a problem with apathy, especially with the tech savvy younger generations. Making voting more “convenient” would certainly encourage more people to exercise their rights. “If” that is the agenda of governmental leaders in Florida.

    Thank you for your friendly, kind comments to me. . . may something positive come into your hearts today.

  14. confidential says:

    I still insist that signs “Vote Here” should have been placed by the SOE offices in Rte 100 as still absentee voters could take their mailed ballots to the SOE office yesterday and “Vote Here”. I understand that also were missing the same Vote Here signs in other precincts and that and to me is just amounts to more voter suppression.
    The upgrade done to the website by the vendor showing the statistic by parties and precinct numbers results before 7 PM, is another travesty with a negative influence in voter turn out.
    Precincts are to close a 7 PM firm, not before on election day!

  15. Pat says:

    Just moving into the area. Looks like most of the area is conservative. Also looks like they voted in what they wanted. If the people voted in what they wanted and the others didn’t get their man, I guess the old tag line applies. ” Delta is ready when you are”. People move into an area because they like what they see. I certainly don’t move in to try and change things. Not that everything is perfect but why would you move into an area you don’t like and then try and change it?? Quit whining. Stories of voter fraud is as old as voting itself. Also sounds like a child that doesn’t know how to accept responsibility for themselves by accusations of why they didn’t get their way. ” It’s because of this or that it didn’t go our way!. Certainly everyone feels like I do and therefore there must be a reason why this happened to me!”. Geez. Grow up.

  16. Sherry E says:

    Not everyone in this area moved from some place else, my mother’s ancestors came to this region of the USA in the late 1600s, and I was born and raised here.

    We true “Florida natives” and others trying to raise a little consciousness of humanity and progressiveness in a very conservative area certainly have “mature”, educated and credible voices that make a huge “positive” difference in our community.

    Again, may something positive come into your hearts today!

  17. YankeeExPat says:

    The fact that we are done with John Thrasher is the best thing that has happened to this county in a long time. If you needed to give someone an example of what a Political Hack is, well John Trasher is your man.

  18. keeping it real says:

    I laugh at those claiming it was money that made republicans come out and vote to win,maybe it had something to do with 8 years of a democratic destroying our country that did it .and I’m sure all the Obama phone using welfare and ebt having democrats assumed someone else would do they’re job and vote,much like the last 8 years. ….democrats living off every system possible

    • Obama 2015 says:

      If that is the case why has EBT increased in Republican leaning counties in Florida. Every GOP like town I go to EBT is taken at Gas stations. I may be the only liberal within 100 miles when I do travel for business.

      Also the Obama phone was founded by Reagan but changed by Obama because the wireless companies also wanted to be part of the program.

      Also how is the Dems destroying this country?

  19. Sherry E says:

    Ahhhh. . . I just love (read that as loath) the sound of ignorant fear and hate in the mornings! And the Rush Limbaugh lovers have just elected 2 of their own. Our home state will continue to be a laughing stock. . . our inhumanity graces the headlines regularly. . . how lovely!

    Have a blessed day!

  20. ryan says:

    This is sad that someone like Travis Hutson who hasn’t proven himself for anything but a selfish person would win. What kind of scumbag would get elected, betray the people who trusted him with their votes by giving up his elected position, and then run for a higher office? Democrat or Republican, someone that only cares how they can benefit doesn’t deserve anything, especially a trusted position of power.

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