Where The Votes Are: Partisanship Soars



With a presidential race on the ballot and few nonpartisan elections to be decided, voters on the Gulf Coast acted in a more partisan fashion than seen in years, according to an SRQ Where The Votes Are analysis of results from the Nov. 8 general election. Republicans ultimately won most of the races, thanks to a turnout so high in Sarasota and Manatee counties that GOP voters would have outnumbered Democrats if every registered Democrat turned out at polls.

The partisan support ran deep even in races further down the ballot. In the two-county area, Democratic candidates for state House of Representatives won no precincts where registered Republicans outnumbered Democrats. A Democratic candidate like Newt Newton, the new state representative for District 70, still was able to win in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans. But four other representatives for this region—freshmen Reps. Joe Gruters and Alex Miller, second-term Rep. Julio Gonzalez and unopposed Rep. Jim Boyd—caucus with Republicans in Tallahassee.

Incumbency could still turn the partisan tide, at least with constitutional offices. Democrat Barbara Ford-Coates easily won re-election as Sarasota County Tax Collector in a heavily Republican County; indeed she won more votes in the county than President-elect Donald Trump even as he won the county. And Clerk of Courts Karen Rushing, a Republican, coasted into another term in part by winning 9 of 15 majority Democrat precincts. But voters for open seats were more partisan. Mike Moran won a Sarasota County Commission seat handily, but only won three Democratic precincts in the county.

SRQ Senior Editor Jacob Ogles will lead a community analysis of the results today at an installmentof Where The Votes Are. The event will be held at SRQ Media’s headquarters at 331 S. Pineapple Ave. in Sarasota. Doors open at 7:45am.

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