Friday, September 21, 2018
News Roundup

Brandes wins State Senate District 22 race

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
Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

TRINITY — What at first looked like a defensive stalemate between Clearwater and Mitchell quickly turned into a rout.Clearwater had revenge on its mind Friday night after a 45-28 loss to Mitchell last year during the the regular seaso...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

TAMPA — The decision was made as soon as Hillsborough got the ball back. Trailing by a touchdown with just over four minutes remaining against Tampa Bay Tech, the Terriers had the ball on their own 6-yard line.They hadn't been able to move the ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

LARGO — The offense was relentless and merciless Friday night, but that has been the case a lot recently. Largo is scoring points in bunches and getting contributions from everyone. Add in a defense that has been smothering, as well as a special team...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays bounce back big after a debacle

Rays bounce back big after a debacle

TORONTO — The way the Rays played Friday — all nine innings, lesson learned — in beating the Jays 11-3 provided the best answer on how, or even if, they could rebound from the crushing loss the night before that all but ended their ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football: Sickles 7, Freedom 3

TAMPA — Sickles needed a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to escape Freedom 7-3 on Homecoming and remain in the hunt for a Class 7A, District 8 title.Gryphons coach Patrick Murphy knew that facing the Patriots would be a battle. Freedom (1-...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Football: Armwood 24, Jefferson 14

SEFFNER — Armwood is becoming accustomed to winning close games.The Hawks fended off visiting Jefferson 24-14 in a defensive battle that featured a plethora of holding penalties in the second half.Armwood (3-1) earned two rushing touchdowns from juni...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Football: Plant 44, Gaither 34

TAMPA — Seventy-eight points. Eight hundred and 40 yards in total offense. Five players surpassing the century mark in yardage.When the game was over Friday, Plant had the edge in every category — including the scoreboard as the Panthers (3-1) opened...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Football: Robinson 28, Blake 25

TAMPA — Nevermind that Blake scored a go-ahead touchdown with 87 seconds left in the game.Forgive him, but part of Robinson junior Lateef Al-Shaa’ir was hoping it would happen just so it would set up a comeback.And it did.With 24 seconds left in the ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Football: St. Petersburg 23, Gibbs 6

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg’s Aumhryaun Brown’s two touchdowns helped overcome the ejection of quarterback Tonio Shavers as the Green Devils cruised to a 23-6 win against Gibbs on Friday.As time expired during the first half, with the Green Devil...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Football: Plant City 24, East Bay 7

GIBSONTON — Plant City’s high-powered passing game gets most of the attention. But the Raiders’ defense is just as responsible for the team’s unbeaten start.In Plant City’s 24-7 road victory against East Bay in Class 7A, District 9 on Friday, the def...
Updated: 3 hours ago