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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Statewide primary turnout was 46 percent, highest since 1976

16

March

The state Division of Elections says the turnout for the presidential primary Tuesday was 46.04 percent, the highest for a Florida presidential primary since 1976, according to  turnout data on the agency's web site.

That percentage reflects the total number of Republicans and Democrats who voted in the closed presidential primary only. But many counties also had city elections on Tuesday's ballot, which are open to all voters, regardless of party affiliation, and which had the effect of lowering the turnout percentage for those counties.

Turnout numbers were still unofficial Wednesday. Broward and Duval were still counting absentee ballots, and many counties have not yet finished counting their provisional ballots and overseas ballots. All counties have until 5 p.m. March 27 to send their certified totals to the state.

A few factoids about the turnout:

* Marco Rubio finished second overall, but came in third behind Ted Cruz in 27 counties, most of them small rural counties in North Florida. The largest county where Rubio finished third was Tallahassee's Leon County, but Cruz ran neck-and-neck with Rubio in the North Subcoast counties of Pasco, Hernando and Citrus.

* The nine candidates who had suspended campaigning but remained on the ballot received a combined 78,000 votes, with more than half of that amount (43,449) going to Jeb Bush.

* The three counties where Bush got the most votes were Miami-Dade (3,976); Lee (3,336); and Hillsborough (2,619), according to unofficial returns.

* As usual, turnout in Pinellas County was higher than the statewide average. It broke 50 percent and stood at 50.02 percent on the county elections website Wednesday. By comparison, turnout in Miami-Dade was a lackluster 29 percent, according to the county elections website.

* Gone but not forgotten: Mike Huckabee got more votes in Pinellas (154) than in any other county in Florida.

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 11:52am]

    

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