Late Tuesday, Republican incumbent Ed Homan appeared headed for a third term in Tallahassee, representing District 60 in the State House.
Homan held a significant lead over Democrat Karen Perez, a clinical therapist from New Tampa, who was challenging Homan for the second time. With more than three-fourths of the precincts counted, Homan led 57 to 43 percent.
"It's pretty much the same vote as last time," Homan said from his Temple Terrace home. "It's interesting that she has a few more points than last time, which reflects the Democratic district. But otherwise, I'm getting the same votes as I always have."
Homan, a 63-year-old orthopedic surgeon, vowed to have a greater impact on the Legislature after four years' experience. He considers himself an in-house expert on medical and health insurance-related bills, but said his main focus will be on property taxes and home insurance.
Homan does not support allowing homeowners to take property tax caps with them when they buy a new home, saying there needs to be a level playing field between first-time and repeat owners. He also thinks home buyers should have the option of accepting their own risk when purchasing insurance, and it should be on a sliding scale based on risk factors, much like auto insurance.
Perez, 42, said she felt much more confident in her campaign this time than in 2004. She promised to push harder to improve Florida's schools and empower the elderly.
Despite the late Tuesday results showing defeat, Perez said she felt confident about the race.
"I'm optimistic," she said. "I think this district is ready for a change and the votes are going to show they are ready for a change."
Emily Nipps can be reached at (813) 269-5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.