The runoff race for a seat on the 5th Judicial Circuit bench put prosecutor Sandy Hawkins in familiar territory.
In 2006, the 53-year-old Belleview resident's three-way race went to an extra ballot before she lost by 2 percentage points to a candidate who outspent her 12 to 1.
This time a similar story: Her opponent, Inverness lawyer Denise Lyn, forced this second contest and outspent her 6 to 1. But Tuesday night, it ended differently.
Preliminary results showed Hawkins headed to a clear victory over Lyn. But she was too nervous to watch. Reached at home, Hawkins was in her pajamas reading a Stephen King novel when she found out she won.
"I'm just so surprised," she said. "I was outspent, outsigned, the whole thing."
In higher courts, Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Wells held on to his post by more than a 3-to-1 margin. Likewise, Kerry I. Evander, C. Alan Lawson, Richard B. Orfinger, Chief Justice William David Palmer and Thomas D. Sawaya all handily won retention votes for another six years on the 5th District Court of Appeal.
John Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6114.