Optimistic Democrats thought if everything rolled perfectly on Election Day, they could take flip five seats in the 40-member state Senate, and take control of one chamber of Florida’s Legislature for the first time in more than two decades.
The end results were not even close.
In the five seats that the Democrats had hoped to pick off, they struck out in four of them, but they may take the Senate District 18 heavyweight battle in Hillsborough County between Republican incumbent Dana Young vs. Democrat Janet Cruz. That remains too close to call.
The four other races where the state Democratic Party put considerable resources, they came up short.
In the Senate District 8 race in the Gainesville/Alachua County area, Republican incumbent Keith Perry edged out Democrat Kayser Enneking in a close contest, with Perry winning by 1.2 percentage points.
In the Senate District 22 seat in Polk County, Republican Kelli Stargel defeated Democrat Bob Doyel by six points, 53 percent to 47 percent.
In the Senate District 16 seat in Pasco/Pinellas that has been open since Republican Jack Latvala resigned due to sexual harassment allegations at the end of last year, Republican Ed Hooper defeated Democrat Amanda Murphy 52 percent to 48 percent.
And in the Pinellas County Senate District 24 race, GOP incumbent Jeff Brandes easily defeated Democrat Lindsay Cross, 54 percent to 46 percent.
The Senate District 18 seat in Hillsborough County seat was the most expensive senate race in the state, and outgoing House Minority Leader Janet Cruz narrowly leads Young by 82 votes, with all precincts reporting. That’s a lead of .4 percent, within the margin to trigger an automatic recount. That decision will be made later this week.