Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Thursday certified the results of the Aug. 30 primary, confirming that Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg beat out Rep. Ed Narain of Tampa by 75 votes in the Democratic primary in Senate District 19.
Three well-known black legislators ran for the open seat to replace retiring Sen. Arthenia Joyner, one of Tampa's longest serving political figures. The field included Narain, Rouson and former state Rep. Betty Reed of Tampa. St. Petersburg lawyer Augie Ribeiro joined the race in the summer and put more than a half a million dollars of his own money into the campaign.
Though the district spans parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, a majority of the territory and voters are in Hillsborough. Despite facing an uphill battle as a Pinellas-based candidate, Rouson emerged victorious after two recounts — one by machine, the other by hand. He narrowly edged out his top two Tampa opponents, Narain and Reed, who split the Hillsborough vote.
Rouson, who reached his term limit in the House of Representatives, is the likely frontrunner to win the Florida Senate seat. He faces a political unknown in Republican John Houman in November's general election.