Sunday, November 19, 2017
News Roundup

Brandes wins State Senate District 22 race

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — In one of Florida's most closely watched primary races, first-term House member Jeff Brandes topped political veteran Jim Frishe to become the Republican candidate in Senate District 22.

The win all but assures Brandes will head to the Senate because Democrats didn't field a candidate and a write-in candidate has raised no money for the Nov. 6 general election.

"I am so excited to serve the residents of Tampa Bay," Brandes, 36, said Tuesday night. "We're going to work hard on jobs, insurance and education."

In Pinellas County, Brandes captured 57 percent of the vote to Frishe's 43. In Hillsborough County, Brandes won 55 percent of the vote compared to Frishe's 45. The district covers much of south Pinellas and South Tampa.

Money from outside groups seeking to influence the future leadership of the Senate allowed the men to dominate Tampa Bay airwaves and landscapes with increasingly negative messages.

Frishe backed state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, for Senate president in 2016. Brandes says he is neutral, but won heavy financial backing from state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who will challenge Latvala. Negron attended Brandes' victory party Tuesday night at 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House in downtown St. Petersburg.

The latest attack involved a last-minute push by Frishe to link Brandes to an idea floated earlier this spring by the Florida Department of Transportation about eventually turning the Howard Frankland Bridge into a toll road.

"Stop tolls for Howard Frankland, Stop Brandes," the signs read.

Frishe said his volunteers planted the toll signs over the past three days: "That's an interstate highway and we need to keep that toll free," he said early Tuesday. He could not be reached for comment after election results were reported.

Brandes had pledged to come up with innovative solutions to the bay area's transportation problems during his campaign, but called Frishe's ad misleading. He said he has never supported turning the whole bridge into a toll road.

Brandes does support tolling as an option for express lanes if those were ever to be added to the bridge, but said "there will always be free options for the Howard Frankland as long as I'm in the Legislature."

Other differences between the candidates: Brandes supports universal vouchers, is against taxing Internet sales and wants to aggressively privatize state functions to save money.

Brandes' win means Frishe, 63, will be out of the House after serving a total of 12 years. The real estate broker served six years in the House from 1984 to 1990 and then returned in 2006.

Frishe raised $306,630 since January 2011 and spent $243,538.

Brandes, who reported his wealth at $10 million, entered the race on June 1. He raised $205,095 and loaned his campaign $500,000. Through Aug. 9, he spent $421,239. Besides money, Brandes and Frishe both chased big-name endorsements from the region and state. Brandes snagged former Gov. Jeb Bush and Frishe landed former Gov. Bob Martinez.

Times reporter Kameel Stanley contributed to this story. Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Comments
USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

The new Associated Press football poll produced some Florida history Sunday.For the first time, UCF and USF are both ranked — and Florida State and Florida are both unranked — entering their respective season-ending grudge matches this weekend.The No...
Updated: 19 minutes ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Youth choir trains voices of confidence

Youth choir trains voices of confidence

 
Updated: 1 hour ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Report: Florida rarely punishes doctors sued for malpractice

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida doctors are rarely punished by state regulators even after they are sued for malpractice, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday. The Florida Department of Health reviewed nearly 24,000 resolved state and federal law...
Updated: 2 hours ago
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said Sunday that the White House is willing to remove a contentious provision taking aim at the Affordable Care Act from the GOP tax overhaul plan if politically necessary, a move ...
Updated: 2 hours ago