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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats Gain Ground in State House



While Democrats nationally were taking back the U.S. House, Florida Democrats were making gains in the state House of Representatives, picking up seven seats that previously were held by Republicans. Considering how deep a hole the Democrats have been in, that's progress.

Two of those seats are in Pinellas County, where Democrats Janet Long and Bill Heller captured seats previously held by Republicans. (Pinellas was the only county in Florida where more than one legislative seat changed parties).

Here are the others: In Orlando, Democrat Scott Randolph unseated Republican Rep. Sheri McInvale; in Sarasota, Democrat Keith Fitzgerald won the seat formerly held by Republican Donna Clarke; in Broward, Rep. Susan Goldstein lost her seat to Democrat Martin Kiar; in Miami-Dade, Democrat Luis Garcia won the seat formerly held by Gus Barreiro; and in the Florida Keys, Democrat Ron Saunders won back the seat he used to hold before it was won by Republican Ken Sorensen.

Tuesday night's results mean the new alignment in the House is 78 Republicans, 42 Democrats. The gain is not just a morale booster for Democrats -- it also denies the GOP a two-thirds majority that under legislative rules allows them to move the agenda at their own pace.

The Democrats quite nearly knocked off another incumbent, by the way: In Palm Beach County, Republican Rep. Carl Domino of Jupiter won by 189 votes, holding off a furious challenge from Democrat Frederick Ford.   

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:38am]


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