Assistant Public Defender Susan L. Gardner was outspent 8 to 1 in the race for Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge. Her opponent spent $113,000 more than she did.
But in this race, the money didn't matter.
Gardner cruised Tuesday to a seat on the Sixth Judicial Circuit bench with 65 percent of the vote. She beat challenger Robert Angus Williams, a land-use lawyer for Fowler White, by more than 100,000 votes.
"This time money didn't win the day," Gardner said. "I gave people straight answers, and I just put in a lot of honest, hard work."
Gardner knows she may have something else to thank. A University of South Florida study showed women seem to have an advantage in low-information, nonpartisan contests like judicial races.
"Undoubtedly some of that is the woman factor," Gardner said. "But with a margin like that, I can't imagine that's all it was. But I'll take it any way it comes."
Voters also overwhelmingly retained Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles T. Wells and four appellate judges to the 2nd District Court of Appeal. Judge Chris W. Altenbernd will return to the appellate bench for another six years along with Judges Carolyn K. Fulmer, Morris Silberman and James W. Whatley.