In some key races in Florida and across the conservative Northwest region, it was nearly a clean sweep for the Republican Party.
Updating: GOP nominee Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States. In Florida, Trump narrowly edged out Democrat Hillary Clinton, with 49 percent of the vote compared to nearly 48% for Clinton, and picked up all of the state’s 29 Electoral votes.
Locally, Trump won nearly 74% of the vote in Santa Rosa and about 71% of the vote in Okaloosa. In Escambia, where there are more Democrats, the margin wasn’t as wide, just 57.7 % compared to 37% for Clinton.
Statewide, Republican Marco Rubio easily defeated Democrat Patrick Murphy, with about 52 percent of the vote.
In the race for Florida’s District 1 Congressional seat, which represents Northwest Florida, Republican Matt Gaetz won nearly 68 percent of the vote to defeat political newcomer Steven Specht, the Democratic nominee. Gaetz will replace incumbent Jeff Miller, who announced plans to retire from Congress in March.
At the state level, House District 1 incumbent Republican Clay Ingram won handily over No Party Affiliation (NPA) candidate Bill Fetke. Ingram won nearly 77 percent of the vote.
First-time Republican candidate Frank White won the State House District 2 seat, with about 61 percent of the vote. Democrat Ray Guillory, also a political newcomer, picked up 39 percent of the votes cast.
In two other state races where there was only write-in opposition, there was no real mystery. It’s now official for Mel Ponder in Florida House 4 and for Doug Broxson in state Senate District 1.
In Escambia County, Republican Jeff Bergosh won 69% of the vote and will replace Wilson Robertson on the County Commission District 1. Bergosh defeated Democrat Audra Carter, who got 31% of the vote.
Lumon May, one of the few Democrats to win, also cruised to victory in his bid to be reelected to the Escambia Commission District 3. He beat Delarian Wiggins and Mirza Ahmad to win his second term in office.
Elsewhere in Escambia, Republican incumbent Sheriff David won reelection to his third term in office, with 73% of the vote. NPA candidate Rex Blackburn got 25% of the vote.
Escambia Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas also won reelection to a third term in office, again defeating Claudia Williams. The Republican incumbent won 65% of the county-wide vote.
Scott Lundsford will take over as Tax Collector in Escambia County, replacing Janet Holley who is retiring. Lundsford, the Republican candidate had 65% of the vote over Democrat Deb Moore's 35%.
In Santa Rosa County, Don Salter won nearly 73% of the vote over NPA candidate Aubrey Penton to win a fifth term on the County Commission District 3. The victory for Salter extends the record he set when he won his fourth term on the Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners. Salter was first elected in 2000.
In Okaloosa, Graham Fountain’s election to the County Commission District 1 seat becomes official with only write-in opposition listed on the General Election ballot.
For the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, all of the incumbents Vicki Campbell, Elvin McCorvey and Larry Walker easily won reelection in their respective districts 1, 3, and 5.
There will be a new mayor in the Town of Century. Challenger Henry Hawkins defeated two-term incumbent Freddie McCall. Hawkins had 337 votes, while McCall picked up 230 votes. Hawkins, who previously served on the town council, will be sworn into office on January 2.
In the City of Pensacola, District 1 and District 7 incumbents P.C. Wu and Jewel Cannada-Wynn won reelection.
In the City of Milton, Margaret Smith, Mary Ellen Johnson, Jeff Snow, and Casey Powell were elected to the Milton City Council.
Nearly 65% of voters in Milton, voted to approve Sunday alcohol sales in the city.
Elsewhere in the state, three of four constitutional amendments on the Florida ballot were approved by voters, including Amendment Two, which allows for broadened use of medical marijuana passed. However, the utility-backed Amendment One, which would have placed regulations for the solar industry in the constitution, failed to reach the 60% threshold needed for approval.