As Florida Democrats hope to dent Republican majorities in both legislative chambers, the major parties will clash in 96 of 120 state House seats and 17 of 20 Senate contests.
Three dozen candidates will contest local Flagler County and Palm Coast elections, while Clerk of Court Tom Bexley, Tax Collector Suzanne Johnston, Property Appraiser Jay Gardner, and Elections Supervisor Kaiti Lenhart were re-elected without opposition.
The races for Flagler County Commission and Palm Coast council were not close in a mid-term election that saw turnout rise to an astounding 64 percent.
Donors, party leaders and political operatives don’t like to toss away money on lost causes. With that in mind, here are some of the races to watch Tuesday in various regions of the state.
Andrew Gillum, the gubernatorial candidate, spoke to some 400 people at a Democratic rally at the Palm Coast Community Center Sunday, the largest such rally in memory in reddish Flagler.
County Commissioner Greg Hansen and School Board member Trevor Tucker are headed to comfortable victories, and newcomer Joe Mullins is well ahead of Commissioner Nate McLaughlin.
The GOP primary that has degraded into absurd name-calling pits tea-party-backed Scott Sturgill against conservative Mike Miller in the Edgewood, Orlando, and Winter Park area.
Incumbents have clear leads in County Commission races, newcomers John Tipton and Jack Howell posted strong showings in Palm Coast races, and school board races have mixed messages.
But Florida Republicans, gathering for a convention in Tampa, say they’ll need to increase turnout to retain congressional and legislative majorities and to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
Major political donors on both sides plan to use support for “common-sense” legislation as a litmus test for candidates during the 2018 midterm elections.