Former Florida Senate President Tom Lee emerged victorious following a bitter campaign trail against state Rep. Rachel Burgin for the Florida Senate District 24 seat.
Lee garnered 14,887 votes, compared to Burgin’s 10,203.
“We’re really excited,” Lee said during his party Aug. 14, at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce. It’s been the most negative campaign I’ve been involved in. I tried to run on my résumé, public service and experience.
“But the voters have spoken, and they have rewarded that message with a large victory,” he said.
Burgin, a Plant City native, called her campaign a grassroots effort and painted herself as the small-town conservative pitted against a Tallahassee mainstay.
Lee, a Brandon-based homebuilder with his family’s company, Sabal Homes, served in the Senate from 1996 to 2006. He said jumping back into politics proved challenging.
“When you’ve been out of office for six years, you have the challenge of reintroducing yourself to voters in 80 days,” he said. “It’s hard to come off the sidelines and get back in the game.”
In July, the campaign turned ugly when a group called The American People Committee mailed a flier that attacked Lee’s family and linked him to Rob Turner, Hillsborough County’s embattled property appraiser who admitted to sending pornography to his officer’s former Human Resource Director Carolyn Fillippone.
Burgin denied accusations she supported financially The American People Committee.
Lee now will face Democrat Elizabeth Belcher and write-in candidate Randolph Link in November’s general election.
Turner’s indiscretions proved too damaging for his career, as Republican Ronda Storms trounced him in Tuesday’s primary for Hillsborough County property appraiser.
Storms received 70.14% (39,039) of the vote, compared to Turner’s 16,617. She now will face Democrat Bob Henriquez and independents James DeMio and Rob Townsend.
For Hillsborough County Commission District 6, Republican Margaret Iuculano narrowly defeated Don Kruse, 26,185 to 23,830. She now will face incumbent Democrat Kevin Beckner.
Democrat Craig Latimer won the primary for Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections over opponent Thomas Scott, 22,354 to 19,968. Latimer will face state Rep. Rich Glorioso, a Plant City resident.
Because she did not receive more than 50% of the vote, Hills-borough County School Board District 7 incumbent Carol Kurdell will face Terry Kemple in a runoff Nov. 6.
In the four judge elections, Mark Wolfe defeated Plant City’s Johnnie Byrd for the 13th Judicial Circuit Court Judge, Group 14; Ann Ober won the County Court Judge Group 3 election over John Grant; Frances Maria Perrone beat Barbara Jean Twine and Lanell Williams-Yulee in the County Court Judge Group 4 race; and Matt Lucas earned the nomination over Nancy Jacobs in the County Court Judge Group 12 race.
CANDIDATE PERCENT VOTES
STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 24
Rachel Burgin (REP) 40.67% 10,203
Tom Lee (REP) 59.33% 14,887
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY PROPERTY APPRAISER
Ronda Storms (REP) 70.14% 39,039
Rob Turner (REP) 29.86% 16,617
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 6
Margaret Iuculano (REP) 52.35% 26,185
Don Kruse (REP) 47.65% 23,830
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS
Craig Latimer (DEM) 52.82% 22,354
Thomas Scott (DEM) 47.18% 19,968
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 7
‘Joe’ Jordan-Robinson 9.76% 9,840
Terry Kemple 19.09% 19,245
Carl Francis ‘Captain Carl’ Kosierowski 8.64% 8,705
Carol Kurdell 35.99% 36,274
Robert McElheny 9.16% 9,235
Michael Weston 17.35% 17,488
CIRCUIT JUDGE, 13th CIRCUIT
Johnnie Byrd Jr. 36,73% 37,310
Mark Wolfe 63.27% 64,278
COUNTY COURT JUDGE GROUP 3
John Grant 36.4% 37,347
Ann Ober 63.6% 65,263
COUNTY COURT JUDGE GROUP 4
Frances Maria Perrone 55.97% 56,141
Barbara Jean Twine 34.19% 34,296
Lanell Williams-Yulee 9.85% 9,876
COUNTY COURT JUDGE GROUP 12
Nancy Jacobs 42.41% 41,789
Matt Lucas 57.59% 56,749