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Rep. Darryl Rouson easily wins race in House District 55

Democratic incumbent Darryl Rouson campaigns at First Avenue S and 34th St. with his mom, Vivian Rouson, 81, of Washington, D.C. Tuesday’s win virtually guarantees re-election for Rouson, who first won the seat in a 2008 special election.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times

Democratic incumbent Darryl Rouson campaigns at First Avenue S and 34th St. with his mom, Vivian Rouson, 81, of Washington, D.C. Tuesday’s win virtually guarantees re-election for Rouson, who first won the seat in a 2008 special election.

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

Rouson took 74 percent of the vote in the district, which includes parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties, winning more than 7,000 votes.

"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 re-election for Rouson, who first won the seat in a 2008 special election. He faces a little known write-in candidate in the Nov. 2 general election.

Pinellas County carried the St. Petersburg native to victory. Rouson won 78 percent of the Pinellas vote, or 5,558 votes. Challenger April Sheffield had 1,553 votes, or 22 percent.

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.

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.

Jamal Thalji, Times staff writer

House District 45

Corcoran wins

Lawyer Richard Corcoran pulled off a victory for the House 45 seat over Pasco School Board member Kathryn Starkey and businessman Fabian Calvo in a closely watched race.

Corcoran faces only write-in opposition in November for the two-county seat.

He drew roughly 45 percent of the vote in Pasco and 40 percent in Pinellas in Tuesday's closed Republican primary.

Starkey, who comes from one of the area's best-known families, carried about 36 percent of the Pasco votes and 32 percent in the Pinellas.

Calvo, a first-time candidate from Clearwater, won not quite 20 percent in Pasco and almost 30 percent in Pinellas.

Corcoran, who had twice run unsuccessfully for state office, said he was "humbled" by Tuesday's win.

"When I was at the polling place, somebody came up to me and said, 'You had the best message,' and we did," he said.

"We went out there and said this whole thing is about taking back our state and our country for our children and our grandchildren."

Jodie Tillman, Times staff writer

House District 48

Nehr takes it for GOP

Incumbent Peter Nehr defeated two challengers in the Republican primary in his attempt to win a third term representing state House District 48.

Nehr, 58, maintained a healthy lead over opponents Steven Mueller, 41, and Marg Baker, 69.

"I was a little bit concerned because you never know in this political atmosphere with people talking about getting rid of incumbents," Nehr said Tuesday night. "I was pleased to get a high majority of the vote even though there was three of us.

"To me, it shows that the people in my district want someone who is in tune with their own interest, and they want a uniter and not a divider."

Nehr faces Democrat Tom McKone, 59, in the Nov. 2 general election. McKone, who is chairman of the East Lake Fire District Commission, had no primary challenger.

In the campaign, Nehr ruffled the feathers of some party members for refusing to reject Gov. Charlie Crist, who left the Republican Party and launched an independent bid for U.S. Senate.

Baker's primary campaign garnered national attention after she suggested building camps to house illegal immigrants until they can be sent back to their homelands.

Demorris Lee, Times staff writer

Rep. Darryl Rouson easily wins race in House District 55 08/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 1:08am]
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