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Martinez disrupts GOP's House plans // DISTRICT 58

State GOP leaders who were counting on a win in House District 58 to help shift the House to a Republican majority can stop counting.

With more than half the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Democratic incumbent Elvin L. Martinez appeared to have trounced Republican challenger Mark Hanisee by a nearly 2-1 ratio.

"I'm feeling wonderful," Martinez said from the federal postal workers union hall on Cypress Street, where his supporters gathered Tuesday.

"I'll continue to work very hard, as I have in the past," he said. "There's a lot to do in this state, and I want to be a part of it."

But with votes left to count, Hanisee had a campaign worker speak for him: He wasn't giving up yet.

"I don't feel like it's something that, once our precincts start reporting, we can't pull back through," Mike Blair said.

Votes from some Republican precincts had not been counted, he said.

"We've got a long way to go," he said.

Martinez, a lawyer who has held the seat for 26 years, pledged during his campaign to continue his efforts to strengthen the criminal justice system, especially when it comes to juvenile criminals.

He pointed to laws he wrote during three terms as chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee, including one that made it easier to prosecute juvenile offenders as adults.

A lifelong resident of Hillsborough County, Martinez, 62, collected $146,569.75 in cash and in-kind campaign contributions.

Hanisee collected $72,932.77.

The District 58 race was the first run at elective office for Hanisee, 37, an employee benefits consultant.

He said he challenged Martinez because the incumbent is an "old-style Democrat" who is too liberal for an increasingly conservative district.