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Grant defeats Blair in District 47 state House Republican primary

Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair lost his bid Tuesday for the District 47 state House seat when attorney James Grant won the Republican primary with 37 percent of the vote.

"We didn't get in this thing to win a primary, but it's one step closer to what we were trying to accomplish," Grant, 27, said as the final votes were counted.

Looking forward to November, Grant, the son of former state Sen. John Grant, said he will continue to focus on finding solutions to problems rather than politicizing them.

"We can't afford to spend time playing politics when unemployment is where it's at, and we're looking at no real economic foundation in Florida," he said.

Blair, 53, and retired Verizon lobbyist Irene Guy, 60, each received about 24 percent of the vote. Business owner Tom Aderhold, 66, received 14 percent.

Grant will face Democrat Michael Steinberg in the Nov. 2 general election.

District 47 covers a large swath of northwest Hillsborough County, including Westchase, Keystone, Cheval, Citrus Park and Carrollwood.

Janet Zink

State House District 55

Rouson cruises in Democratic primary

Democratic incumbent Darryl Rouson handily won his party's primary Tuesday night for the District 55 state House seat.

Rouson took 74 percent of the vote in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

"I'm extremely humbled that the voters have again allowed me the privilege and the opportunity to serve them in Tallahassee," Rouson said. "I'm going to continue to work hard, to fight for benefits for my district and to try and represent the citizenry of the entire state."

The win virtually guarantees reelection for Rouson, who was first elected to the seat in a 2008 special election. He faces a little known write-in candidate in the general election.

Rouson, 55, is a father of seven and longtime Pinellas attorney. He touted his credentials as an experienced lawmaker who can get things done with the Republican majority.

Challenger April Sheffield, 43, a longtime social worker and health care advocate from Sarasota, was making her first run at statewide office. She criticized Rouson for ignoring Sarasota and Manatee counties.

District 55 encompasses southern Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and parts of Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Jamal Thalji

State House District 57

Young clinches Republican nod

Dana Young, an attorney who has been a stay-at-home mom for the past 12 years, emerged victorious in the Republican primary for the District 57 state House seat.

"It's very humbling," Young, 45, said during a celebration at her South Tampa home. "I walked into a houseful of wonderful friends and people who have worked hard for me, and probably 30 kids, which I love."

Young said she expects to work even harder in the next few months.

"It's going to be tough," she said. "But I'm optimistic."

Young, who defeated attorneys Dan Molloy and Todd Marks, will face Democrat Stacy Frank in November.

It's a contest that will be closely watched throughout the state as Democrats try to wrest the seat away from Republicans who have held the post for the past eight years.

The district has a nearly even split of registered Republicans and Democrats, which includes most of South Tampa and stretches through Town 'N Country to Westchase.

State Democrats see the race as an opportunity to boost their numbers in the Legislature. The party has so far directed more than $46,000 in monetary and in-kind contributions to Frank's campaign.

Janet Zink

State House District 56

Burgin triumphs in Republican primary

Incumbent Rachel Burgin defeated dentist Marc Johnson in the Republican primary for the District 56 state House seat. The district covers the area from Brandon west to Davis Islands in Tampa.

Burgin, 27, was first elected in 2008 after she was chosen by a handful of people from the county Republican Party to replace Republican Trey Traviesa, who had abruptly withdrawn from his reelection run.

Johnson made Burgin's selection through that process an issue in the campaign.

She will face Democrat David Chalela, an attorney, and write-in candidate Lewis Laricchia in the general election.

Janet Zink

State House District 60

Harrison, Patterson headed to general

Attorney Shawn Harrison, 45, won the Republican primary for the District 60 state House seat.

"I feel relieved that our 18-month campaign for the primary is over," said Harrison, as he celebrated with supporters at Wood Fired Pizza in New Tampa. "I have a background in small business, and I think people responded to that."

Harrison said voters responded to his message that the private sector will pull the state out of its economic slump, not government.

Harrison, who served on the Tampa City Council from 1999 to 2007, will face Democrat Russell Patterson in the general election.

Patterson, 58, easily defeated Christopher Cano, 27, in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

District 60 covers Thonotosassa, Temple Terrace, Lutz and Lake Magdalene.

Janet Zink

State House District 61

Weatherford breezes to GOP victory

Will Weatherford took another step in his quest to become the 2012 speaker of the House of Representatives by trouncing tea party activist and newcomer Kevin Wright.

Weatherford took the GOP primary with about 80 percent of the vote in the district that includes central and east Pasco and part of New Tampa.

"I'm just honored by the show of support from the community and the district," Weatherford said. "For three and half years we've worked for lower taxes and family-friendly issues and to represent the people of the district in the way they should be."

Weatherford, 30, campaigned on a platform that included not raising taxes and supporting an amendment to allow school districts more flexibility on class size. He has raised more than $500,000 toward his reelection. If reelected, Weatherford is on track to become Pasco's first House speaker since 1893 and the youngest since 1957.

Weatherford faces another first-time candidate in November: Democrat Elena McCullough of Wesley Chapel.

Lisa Buie

State House District 67

Steube defeats fellow Republicans

Greg Steube won the Republican primary in the District 67 state House race.

Steube will face Democrat Z.J. Hafeez, an Apollo Beach lawyer, and John Studebaker, who is running with no party affiliation, in the general election.

State House District 67 includes parts of southeast Hillsborough County, including Gibsonton, Sun City and Ruskin, and parts of eastern Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Janet Zink

Grant defeats Blair in District 47 state House Republican primary 08/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 2:33am]

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