TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Republicans further cemented their control of the Florida House on Tuesday, knocking off three incumbent Democrats, picking up open seats, and successfully defending districts against Democratic challenges.
Republican Linda Chaney defeated Rep. Jennifer Webb, D-Gulfport, in Pinellas County’s House District 69, Republican Dana Trabulsy unseated Rep. Delores Hogan Johnson, D-Fort Pierce, in St. Lucie County’s House District 84, and Republican Tom Fabricio toppled Rep. Cindy Polo, D-Miramar, in House District 103 in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Meanwhile, Republican Fiona McFarland picked up an open seat in Sarasota County’s House District 72, as did Republican Demi Busatta Cabrera in Miami-Dade County’s House District 114. Those seats became open when Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, ran for Congress and Rep. Javier Fernandez, D-South Miami, ran for the state Senate --- with both losing their races Tuesday.
Also, the GOP appeared to hold off Democratic challenges in several hotly contested districts across the state. That included Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, topping Democrat Kayser Enneking in North Florida’s District 21; Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, R-DeLand, defeating former Democratic Rep. Patrick Henry in Volusia County’s District 26; Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, fending off a challenge from Democrat Julie Jenkins in Hillsborough County’s District 60; and Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach, defeating Democrat Jim Bonfiglio in Palm Beach County’s District 89.
Republicans have controlled the Florida House since 1996 and have long held large majorities. While not all results were finalized Tuesday night, it appeared that Republicans could hold about 77 of the 120 House seats going into the 2021 legislative session, with Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, serving as speaker.
Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, lamented the Democrats' losses in House races and other contests Tuesday.
"I’m saying it now. We need a whole new direction for the @FlaDems," tweeted Eskamani, who was re-elected in House District 47. "We are losing too many incredible down ballot elected officials and candidates right now and it’s not ok. I know we have the potential to be better and do better. We do it everyday here in #HD47."
Democrats got some key wins Tuesday, including Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil, D-Maitland, holding off a challenge from former Rep. Bob Cortes, R-Altamonte Springs, in District 30 in Orange and Seminole counties. Also, Democrat Andrew Learned appeared to narrowly defeat Republican Michael Owen in Hillsborough County’s District 59, which opened when Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview, decided to run for a congressional seat.
But Republicans picked up other open seats where the parties squared off, particularly in Miami-Dade County. As an example, Republican David Borrero topped Democrat Maureen Porras in District 105, which opened when Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, ran for a Senate seat. Also, Republican Alex Rizo defeated Democrat Annette Collazo in District 110, which was open because House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, faced term limits. In addition, Republican Jim Mooney held off Democrat Clint Barras in District 120, which opened because Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, faced term limits.