Republican incumbent Jeff Brandes cruised to an easy victory Tuesday night over scrappy Democratic challenger Judithanne McLauchlan, winning a second term to represent District 22 in the state Senate.
Brandes first won the swing district seat, which covers a large swath of south Pinellas and parts of South Tampa, in 2012.
With all of the precincts reported Tuesday, Brandes was ahead by a more than a 3-2 ratio.
"I'm feeling great. We had a great turnout," Brandes said from his election party at 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House in downtown St. Petersburg. "We really focused on two issues: jobs and government accountability."
McLauchlan, a political science professor at the USF St. Petersburg, was a first-time candidate who told voters she was more in touch with middle-class families and was the foil to her wealthy opponent, whose family owns Tibbetts Lumber in St. Petersburg.
Brandes and the Republican Party of Florida levied attacks at McLaughlan that focused on her bankruptcy filing years ago after an illness.
As expected, Pinellas County's most powerful legislator, Sen. Jack Latvala, won a decisive victory over a long-shot challenger from the right.
Latvala, a Republican from Clearwater, was leading by nearly 3 to 1 with all precincts reporting over Libertarian Tony Caso. There was no Democrat in the race for District 20, which runs from Largo to Tarpon Springs.
Caso, a 65-year-old tea party activist best known for leading the fight against fluoridating Pinellas County's drinking water in 2011, quit the Republican Party to run as a Libertarian.
Latvala served in the Senate from 1994 to 2002, left due to term limits, then returned in 2010. The well-funded incumbent was considered a shoo-in for re-election against Caso. The race was a financial mismatch by a ratio of 75 to 1.
Republican state Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon was headed for an overwhelming victory in the race for eastern Hillsborough County's District 24 seat. With almost all precincts reported, Lee was swamping write-ins Brandon R. Thebeau of Tampa and Steven Paul Warren of Brandon.