Correction, Nov 5, 11 a.m.: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Florida’s Amendment 3 passed. While the measure did earn a majority vote in favor, it did not get the supermajority required to pass a constitutional amendment. The Gabber apologizes for the error.
Pinellas County has over 700,000 registered voters. An almost perfect divide of 256,000 registered Democrats and 252,000 registered Republicans is what makes Pinellas a swing county in a swing state.
Florida’s diverse population is also what keeps us all at the edge of our seats on election night.
On Tuesday, November 3 Florida voters in Pinellas County made critical decisions on everything from the President of the United States to property appraiser, the sheriff and whether or not to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The three page ballot may have seemed daunting, but over 560,000 eligible voters utilized their right to vote in Pinellas – a near 80% turnout.
Results of Races in the Gabber’s Elections Coverage
Charlie Crist retained his District 13 Congressional seat over Anna Paulina Luna.
By a wide margin, Darryl Rouson was reelected as District 19 State Senator over Christina Paylan.
Incumbent Ben Diamond was reelected as District 68 State Representative over political newcomer Matt Tito. Linda Chaney unseated District 69 State Representative Jennifer Webb.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office won’t see any change in leadership as Sheriff Bob Gualtieri beat challenger Eliseo Santana.
The Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections will remain Republican held positions in Pinellas County, with Mike Twitty, Charles W. Thomas and Julie Marcus keeping their respective positions.
At large Board of County Commissioners races were close, but the positions will remain in the hands of Democrats Janet Long (District 1) and Charlie Justice (District 3).
Rene Flowers received almost double the votes of Maria Scruggs for District 7’s Board of County Commissioners.
Laura Hine (District 1) and Caprice Edmond (District 7) are newest Pinellas School Board members, defeating Stephanie Meyer and Karl Nurse, respectively.
Out of the six constitutional amendments on the ballot all but Amendments 3 and 4 passed.
Amendment 1: Citizen Requirement for Voting Initiative – Passed
The current constitution states: “Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.” Amendment 1 will change the language to “Only a citizen of the United States…”
Amendment 2: $15 Minimum Wage Initiative – Passed
Florida’s minimum wage will be raised incrementally over the next six-years, reaching $15 an hour by 2026.
Amendment 3: Top-Two Open Primaries for State Offices Initiative – Did Not Pass
With a 57/43% split, voters came close to a supermajority consensus, but not close enough. Florida will retain the current closed primary system.
Amendment 4: Require Constitutional Amendments to be Passed Twice Initiative – Did Not Pass
Future constitutional amendments will only require the approval from a supermajority of voters in one general election before passing.
Amendment 5: Florida Extend “Save Our Homes” Portability Period Amendment – Passed
Homeowners now have three years to transfer Save Our Homes benefits to a new homestead property
Amendment 6: Homestead Property Tax Discount for Spouses of Deceased Veterans – Passed
Surviving spouses of veterans will now inherit homestead property tax breaks when their spouse passes away. The benefit will remain in effect until the surviving spouse remarries or sells the property.