Rep. Darryl Rouson decisively won election to the Florida Senate, winning almost 70 percent of the vote on Tuesday night.
Rouson, the St. Petersburg Democrat, will replace longtime Tampa political fixture Arthenia Joyner in Senate District 19, which includes parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Rouson, 61, defeated Republican John "Mr. Manners" Houman, 69, a first-time candidate with $10 in campaign donations.
Rouson, who served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives, faced much tighter competition in the Democratic Primary. Rouson narrowly edged out State Rep. Ed Narain in a four-way race with former State Rep. Betty Reed and political newcomer Augie Ribeiro.
Narain and Reed both split the Hillsborough vote in the primary. Two recounts were required to confirm that Rouson beat Narain by 75 votes in the state's closest primary races.
"This has been one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the primaries and the general," Rouson said. "The point is now to unify, to come together for the good of the district and for the good of the citizens of the state of Florida. I'm ready to get to work."
Houman, who filed to run in May, mostly flew under the radar and spent most of his campaign dollars (funded by a $3,000 loan) on the state's qualifying fee and wardrobe purchases at Walmart.
Contact Caitlin Johnston at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401. Follow @cljohnst.