TALLAHASSEE — After four years with a Democrat on the Florida Cabinet, Republicans are back in total control.
The GOP made a clean sweep on Tuesday: Ashley Moody will remain Florida’s attorney general; Jimmy Patronis won another four-year term as chief financial officer; and Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson was elected as state agriculture commissioner. The Associated Press called all three races shortly before 9 p.m.
The results were not a surprise. Their Democratic opponents had little support from their own party and an incredible fundraising disadvantage.
Moody easily won reelection over former State Attorney Aramis Ayala, leading by more than 17% with 58% of precincts reporting. Ayala became the first Black state attorney in Florida when she was elected to the post in Orange and Osceola counties in 2016. She served just one tumultuous four-year term before stepping down.
As for her showing in Tampa Bay, Moody in 2018 narrowly won Hillsborough County. This year, she led Hillsborough by more than 12% with 95% of precincts reporting. She led Pinellas by 13 percentage points, with over 95% of precincts reporting.
In a statement, Ayala said the outcome was not what she wanted but that her work would continue.
“Floridians still need their constitutional rights protected,” she said. “Florida’s constitution still needs a defender when the Governor acts like a dictator. The work must go on until our voices are heard and a new path is charted for Florida’s future.”
Patronis, who has been in the job since 2017, was declared the winner over one-term state Rep. Adam Hattersley, leading by more than 15 percentage points.
In 2018, Patronis lost Hillsborough County by roughly 4% of votes and won Pinellas by less than a percentage point. This year, he won Hillsborough by 9 and Pinellas by 11 percentage points. He thanked his followers on Twitter late Tuesday.
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And Simpson, an industrial egg farmer from Trilby, was declared the winner over Democrat Naomi Blemur, leading by more than 15 percentage points. Blemur, a first-time candidate from Miami-Dade County, ran a limited campaign after several top Democrats withdrew their endorsements over her past statements about abortion.
With Tuesday’s results, Republicans will have complete control over state government for the first time since 2018, when Democrat Nikki Fried won an upset bid to become the state’s agriculture commissioner.
The three Cabinet officers work with the governor on matters such as the purchase of land, clemency and law enforcement. Each will serve a four-year term.
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