Republicans seek to hold vacant Florida House seats

Special elections for two seats in the Florida House of Representatives will be held Tuesday. These partisan special elections were called in District 7 and District 38.
 
In District 7, candidates Ryan Terrell (D) and Jason Shoaf (R) face off in the race. The seat became vacant after Halsey Beshears (R) resigned on January 11 to become Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Terrell was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and Shoaf defeated three candidates in the Republican primary to advance to the general election.
 
In the race for District 38, Kelly Smith (D) faces Randy Maggard (R). The seat became vacant after Daniel Burgess (R) was appointed as the Executive Director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on January 24. Smith was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and Maggard defeated David McCallister in the Republican primary to advance to the general election.
 
Both seats were up for election in 2018. Beshears was unopposed in his re-election bid to District 7, and Burgess faced independent candidate David TK Hayes in the District 38 race. Burgess received 44,203 votes (66.3%), while Hayes received 22,451 votes (33.7%).
 
A special election for District 97 was also called in 2019, but the primary and general elections were both canceled because only one candidate, Dan Daley (D), qualified for the ballot. Daley won election to the position outright and will take office in June 2019. The seat became vacant after Jared Moskowitz (D) resigned in January 2019 to become the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
 
Partisan primaries were held on April 9. Candidates were required to file by February 14.
 
As of June, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Entering the special election, the Florida House of Representatives had 46 Democrats, 71 Republicans, and three vacancies. Florida has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 



About the author

Mandy Gillip

Mandy Gillip is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at mandy.gillip@ballotpedia.org

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