Florida primary: Crist wins Democratic gubernatorial contest

Florida primary: Crist wins Democratic gubernatorial contest

By The Associated Press

U.S. Rep. and former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist will try to derail Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bid for reelection in November after defeating state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in Tuesday’s primary. In another race attracting attention, U.S. Rep. Val Demings defeated three lesser-known candidates for the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat. She will face incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Both DeSantis and Rubio ran unopposed in the primary. Voters also chose candidates for attorney general, agriculture commissioner and U.S. House seats. A look at other contests:


Former Orlando-area State Attorney Aramis Ayala defeated two other Democrats for a chance to challenge Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody, who didn’t have a primary opponent. Ayala received national attention for refusing to seek the death penalty in murder cases.

Republican Senate President Wilton Simpson defeated little-known candidate James Shaw. Naomi Blemur defeated two other candidates in the Democratic primary.


Incumbent Republican Jimmy Patronis has no GOP opposition for chief financial officer. He will face Democratic former state Rep. Adam Hattersley, who also has no opposition, in the November general election.


Florida voters will elect at least six new members of Congress this year – four because incumbents are retiring or seeking higher office and two because of the creation of a new district and the redrawing of a current district, which pits two incumbents against each other. Here are the key primaries:

—District 1 (Florida Panhandle):

Republican incumbent Matt Gaetz fended off two primary challengers. One of the challengers, veteran and business executive Mark Lombardo, was hoping that GOP voters in the western Panhandle had been turned off by Gaetz’s frequent inflammatory remarks. Lombardo sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money into the race. Rebekah Jones won the Democratic nomination.

—District 2 (Florida Panhandle):

No primary is being held. Democratic Rep. Al Lawson will face Republican Rep. Neal Dunn in a redrawn congressional district in November.

—District 3 (north Florida):

Incumbent Rep. Kat Cammack won the Republican primary. Danielle Hawk, a digital project manager and community activist, won the Democratic race.

—District 4 (northeast Florida):

State Sen. Aaron Bean has defeated two other Republicans to win the primary for an open Jacksonville-area seat. On the Democratic side, former state Sen. Anthony Hill was in a tight race with LaShonda Holloway, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2020. It was too early to call a winner Tuesday night. Republicans have an advantage in the district.

—District 5 (north Florida):

Republican Rep. John Rutherford defeated two less-funded primary challengers. No Democrats were running for the seat.

—District 6 (north Florida):

GOP Rep. Michael Waltz won the Republican primary. There is also a libertarian candidate on the November ballot, but no Democrat.

—District 7 (central Florida):

Karen Green, a former Florida Democratic Party vice chair, has won her primary. Cory Mills won the Republican nomination. Green and Mills are seeking the seat left open after Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy decided to leave Congress. The district extends from Seminole County to the Atlantic Coast and now leans Republican after redistricting.

—District 8 (central Florida):

The Republican incumbent, Rep. Bill Posey, had no opposition in the GOP primary. Joanne Terry, a retired satellite systems engineer, won the Democratic primary.

—District 9 (central Florida):

Christian nonprofit worker Scotty Moore won the Republican primary. He will face Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, who was unopposed.

—District 10 (central Florida):

Army veteran Calvin Wimbish defeated five other candidates to win the Republican nomination, while social justice activist Maxwell Alejandro Frost defeated nine other Democrats in his race. They are seeking the seat left open when Deming decided to run for the U.S. Senate.

Incumbent Republican Dan Webster won his primary against nationally known far-right activist Laura Loomer, who’s been banned by several social media platforms because of anti-Muslim and other remarks. Webster has served central Florida districts since 2011.

—District 12 (north Florida):

Incumbent Rep. Gus Bilirakis defeated four challengers to win the Republican primary. Democrat Kimberly Walker, a Treasury Department contractor and military veteran, has no primary challenger.

—District 13 (Tampa Bay area):

Anna Paulina Luna has won the Republican nomination for the St. Petersburg-area seat left open when Crist decided to run for governor. The formerly competitive seat now leans Republican. Luna will face Democrat Eric Lynn, who worked in President Barack Obama’s administration.

—District 14 (Tampa Bay area):

Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor has fended off a primary challenge from Christopher Bradley, a cyber-defense and tech expert. Public relations executive and former Coast Guard officer James Judge won the Republican nomination.

—District 15 (Tampa Bay area):

Former Secretary of State Laura Lee won the Republican nomination for the new district east of Tampa. Alan Cohn won the Democratic nomination. The district heavily favors Republicans.

—District 16 (Tampa Bay area):

Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan won his primary. In November, he will face Jan Schneider, an international lawyer and author who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

—District 17 (southwest Florida):

No primary is being held. GOP Rep. Greg Steube will face Democrat Andrea Doria Kale and a no-party candidate in November.

—District 18 (central Florida):

Incumbent GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin defeated four Republican challengers. There is no Democratic candidate.

—District 19: (southwest Florida):

First-term Rep. Byron Donalds won the Republican primary. He will face Democrat Cindy Banyai in November.

—District 20 (South Florida):

Democratic U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick has won her primary for the seat she won in a special election earlier this year. Former Broward County Mayor Dale Holness, who lost to Cherfilus-McCormick by five votes, and state Rep. Anika Omphroy were also running for the seat, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

—District 21 (South Florida):

Incumbent Rep. Brian Mast defeated three challengers in the Republican primary. He will face Democrat Corinna Balderramos Robinson in November.

—District 22 (South Florida):

Five Republicans are competing in the primary for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel, who was unopposed in the primary. Investor Dan Franzese and financial adviser Deborah Adeimy were in a tight race, well ahead of the three other candidates. It was too early to call a winner Tuesday night.

—District 23 (South Florida):

Jared Moskowitz defeated five other Democrats running for the South Florida seat left open by Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch’s decision to retire. Moskowitz is the former state representative who helped pass gun legislation after the high school shooting massacre in Parkland. He also served as DeSantis’ emergency management director. Joe Budd defeated six other Republicans who were also running for the seat, which is firmly Democratic.

—District 24 (South Florida):

Veteran Rep. Frederica Wilson won the Democratic primary. Jesus Navarro, who works for a disability mobility firm, won the Republican nomination.

—District 25 (South Florida):

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz won her primary in the solidly Democratic district. Registered nurse Carla Spalding won the Republican nomination.

—District 26 (South Florida):

Longtime GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has won the Republican primary. He will face Democrat Christine Alexandria Olivo, who was unopposed in the primary.

—District 27 (South Florida):

First-term Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar won the Republican primary. State Sen. Annette Taddeo, who was Crist’s lieutenant governor running mate in 2014, won the Democratic race. The Miami-area district has switched parties several times in recent years.

—District 28 (South Florida):

Incumbent Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez defeated two lesser-known challengers. Robert Asencio, a retired schools police chief and former state legislator, won the Democratic primary. A write-in candidate is also vying for the seat.