Florida’s legislative primary elections: by the numbers

by | Aug 22, 2022

 

  • More than a quarter of all incumbent officeholders are facing a challenger this cycle, the most since 2016
  • Historically, Florida incumbents win more than 90 percent of the time
  • Republicans facing more primary challengers than last cycle, Democrats fewer
  • Nearly 400 candidates filed to run for state house races this cycle

Thirty-two of the 114 Florida state legislators who filed for re-election – 13 Democrats and 19 Republicans – will face contested primaries on Aug. 23. This represents 28% of incumbents who filed for re-election, the highest figure compared to the four preceding election cycles.

A primary is contested when more candidates file than there are nominations available, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

Historically, however, incumbents tend to win contested primaries in Florida.

Between 2014 and 2020, 71 incumbents faced contested primaries in the state, six of whom – five Democrats and one Republican – lost. This gives incumbents a primary win rate of 92%.

The rate of contested primaries – including those without incumbents – is similar to previous election cycles.

There are 81 contested primaries: 32 for Democrats and 49 for Republicans. This represents 25% of all possible primaries.

For Democrats, this is down from 38 in 2020, a 16% decrease. For Republicans, the number increased by 44% from 34 in 2020 to 49 this year.

Overall, 376 candidates – 161 Democrats and 215 Republicans – filed to run for the state’s 120 House and 40 Senate districts.

Florida has had a Republican trifecta since 2010 when the party won control of the governorship. Republicans currently hold a 76-42 majority in the House, with two vacancies, and a 23-16 majority in the Senate, with one vacancy.

Florida’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for tomorrow, Aug. 23, the 15th primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

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