Overview


Democrats Take House; Republicans Hold Senate

Midterm elections are generally viewed as a referendum on the president and the majority party.  Amid promises of a “blue wave” backlash against President Donald Trump, voters headed to the polls on November 6.  Although a number of races remained unresolved the day after the election, significant gains, enough to take control, were made by Democrats in the U.S. House.  However, unofficial results report that Republicans strengthened their grip on the U.S. Senate by taking several seats.

Heading into election night, the breakdown of parties in the U.S. House was 235 Republicans to 193 Democrats, with seven vacancies.  By Wednesday morning, 14 races had not yet been finalized.  Conservative estimates are that 29 seats, including two in Florida, changed to the Democrats, giving them control of that chamber.

With four U.S. Senate races, including one in Florida, the Republicans seem to have strengthened their control.   Prior to the election, Republicans led the chamber with 51 members over 49 Democrats.  When the dust settled, the Republicans maintained 51 seats, but four seats had not yet been called.

Republicans Maintain Control in Florida

As the third largest state in the U.S., Florida elections are always of national interest.   Republicans have controlled the Cabinet for seven years, and this cycle, three of the four seats were open. Longtime U.S. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, for the first time in years, had a serious challenger – Republican Governor Rick Scott.  As a result, both parties, nationally, were keenly aware that the 2018 election could move this purple state closer to a red or blue hue. 

Republicans and Democrats alike had summoned their luminaries to Florida in hopes of invigorating their base.  President Trump led several rallies while former President Barack Obama campaigned and publicly endorsed specific Democrats on the state and local level.   Like the primary, national issues such as Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court amid sexual harassment allegations and the migrant caravan from Honduras bled into state and local races.  Ultimately, turnout across the state was more than 61 percent, a level surpassed only in 1994 when Democrat Governor Lawton Chiles lost to then-Republican businessman Jeb Bush.

Slightly less than one month before the General Election, one of the strongest storms on record to hit the United States slammed into Florida’s Panhandle.  The impact on the state’s Panhandle counties was devastating, with lives lost and homes and businesses torn apart. As damage assessments and recovery efforts began to unfold, the impact on the upcoming General Election and voting processes were evaluated.  Typical polling places had been destroyed, severely limiting voters’ ability to cast ballots.  On October 18, Governor Rick Scott issued an executive order giving Supervisors of Election of the affected counties the authority to extend early voting and enhance vote-by-mail options.

Earlier in the summer, a slower moving “storm,” Red Tide, elevated environmental issues in this election cycle.  The naturally occurring toxic algae bloom threatened marine life affecting the fishing and tourist industry that fuels the state’s economy.  This issue, which angered the swing voter regions of Tampa, Southwest Florida and Palm Beach, became part of the platform for candidates of both parties.  While the impact on the election of these two environmental disasters can be assessed immediately in the affected districts, the impact on Floridians’ lives and the economy will take years to be quantified.

The Executive Branch

Governor: Ron DeSantis – 49.73%


Voters heading to the polls on November 6 had to choose between two polar-opposite candidates.  Staunch Trump Republican Ron DeSantis and Progressive Democrat Andrew Gillum drew support from their right and left leaning base in the primary.  The General Election matchup became one of the most anticipated across the country with both camps receiving significant funding from out-of-state benefactors.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s primary victory stunned political insiders when a strong grassroots effort resulted in a historic turnout of support on election day.  All but ignored in the primary, Gillum was not the target of negative ads; this ultimately catapulted him over the others.  Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis sailed to a primary victory over gubernatorial heir-apparent Adam Putnam; however, the campaign appeared lethargic early in the General Election. 

Gillum’s campaign during the General Election was dogged by allegations that he accepted inappropriate gifts. Further, he was blasted for signing the Dream Defenders pledge. DeSantis was criticized for speaking at a conference organized by a right-wing activist and for accepting contributions from a donor who used a racial slur against former President Obama. 

Gillum led DeSantis by several points one month prior to the General Election. With promises to continue Governor Scott’s economic policies, DeSantis gained momentum late in the race.  Just days before the election, the polls indicated the candidates were within a couple points of each other.  When the ballots were tallied, voters sent DeSantis to the Governor's mansion.

Attorney General: Ashley Moody – 52.26%


Republican Hillsborough County circuit judge and former prosecutor Ashley Moody faced off against state representative and insurance attorney Sean Shaw in the General Election.  Shaw is the son of the late Leander Shaw, the first African American chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. The business community largely supported Moody, fearing Shaw would use the office as a forum against corporations in the name of consumer protection.  Moody also had the support of law enforcement.

Democrats on a national basis saw an opportunity in Shaw, who is an articulate litigator, but ultimately Shaw was not able to raise the money needed to surpass Moody’s credentials and endorsements. 

Agriculture Commissioner: Recount


State Representative Matt Caldwell came from behind to win a three-way primary race in August against well-funded candidates.  Caldwell is a real estate appraiser from Ft. Myers whose family is in the agriculture industry.  On the Democratic side, medical marijuana industry lobbyist Nikki Fried was a late entrant into the campaign, filing just days before the qualifying deadline. 

Garnering interest and funding for this low-profile Cabinet seat has always proved difficult.  But with the control of the Cabinet hanging in the balance, both parties had engaged in this race. The race appeared headed for a recount on the morning after the election.  Caldwell garnered 50.11 percent to Fried’s 49.89 percent.  State law requires an automatic recount when the margin of victory is equal to or less than 0.5 percent of the total votes cast for that office.  If the margin is equal to or less than 0.25 percent, a hand recount is ordered; otherwise, an electronic counter is used.

Chief Financial Officer: Jimmy Patronis –51.89%


Governor Scott appointed former Florida Representative and sitting Public Service Commissioner Jimmy Patronis to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position in 2017.  In this role, Patronis oversaw the state’s accounting and financial services, investment of state funds, as well as licensing of insurance agents and agencies. Patronis faced former state Senator Jeremy Ring, a former Yahoo executive.  Ring’s fundraising paled in comparison to Patronis, a restauranteur by trade, who is well-liked in political circles.

When the votes were counted, Patronis held his seat and will be the longest-serving member of the new Cabinet officers.

The Legislative Branch

Senate: 23 Republicans/16 Democrats/1 Recount 


Florida Senators serve four-year terms and may remain in one seat for two terms for a total of eight years. The breakdown of the Senate heading into the election was 23 Republicans, 16 Democrats and one vacant seat.  Half of the 40 members were up for election.  Two Senators, both Republicans, reached their eight-year term limit and could not run again, while three others, also Republicans, did not run for re-election or seek higher office.   As a result, there were five open Republican seats heading into November 6.

Two Democratic Senators were re-elected without opposition following the June qualifying period.  Further, Democratic attorney Jason Pizzo was elected when he bested incumbent Senator Daphne Campbell.

In late September, Republican Senator Dorothy Hukill ended her campaign, announcing that an aggressive cancer for which she was recently treated had returned. The local Republican Executive Committee chose businessman Tom Wright to run in her stead, although the Senator’s name, now deceased, remained on the ballot because the date for printing the ballots had passed. Wright won the election 56.35% to 43.65% over Democrat Melissa Martin.

When the ballots were counted, the Republicans maintained their control of the Senate.  However, late in the evening, Tampa Republican Senator Dana Young was headed into a recount with Democrat State Representative Janet Cruz. State law requires an automatic recount when the margin of victory is equal to or less than 0.5 percent of the total votes cast for that office.  If the margin is equal to or less than 0.25 percent, a hand recount is ordered; otherwise, an electronic counter is used.

Below is a listing of the victorious General Election candidates who will be sworn in in mid-November.

2019-20 Florida Senate

District

Candidate

Race Comments

2

Gainer, George (R)

Owner of Several Auto Dealerships

4

Bean, Aaron (R)

Development Officer at Shands Jacksonville

6

Gibson, Audrey  (D)

Re-elected without Opposition; Democratic Leader; Public Relations Liaison

8

Perry, Keith  (R)

CEO, Roofing Company

10

Simpson, Wilton  (R)

Egg Farmer; Slated to be President following Galvano

12

Baxley, Dennis  (R)

Owner, Funeral Homes

14

Wright, Tommy (R)

Attorney

16

Hooper, Ed  (R)

Former State Representative; Retired Firefighter

18

Young, Dana  (R)

Cruz, Janet  (D)

Attorney

Former House Democratic Leader; Optician

20

Lee, Tom (R)

Vice President of Sabal Homes

22

Stargel, Kelli  (R)

Investment Property Manager

23

Gruters, Joe (R)

State Representative; Certified Public Accountant

24

Brandes, Jeff  (R)

Real Estate Broker

25

Harrell, Gayle (R)

State Representative

26

Albritton, Ben  (R)

State Representative; Citrus Grower

28

Passidomo, Kathleen (R)

Attorney

30

Powell, Bobby (D)

Urban and Regional Planner

32

Book, Lauren (D)

Re-elected without Opposition; Founder of Lauren’s Kids

34

Farmer Jr, Gary (D)

Attorney

36

Diaz Jr, Manny (R)

State Representative; College Administrator

38

Pizzo, Jason (D)

Elected in the Primary; Attorney

40

Taddeo, Annette (D)

Founder and CEO of Language Speak

                                               

Bold denotes Incumbent

Red font denotes Recount

House of Representatives: 70 Republicans/48 Democrats/2 Recounts


House members serve two-year terms and may hold the same seat for four terms, totaling eight years.  The current breakdown in the House is 76 Republicans to 41 Democrats. Heading into the General Election, there were 35 districts (14 Republicans; 9 Democrats) without an incumbent due to term limits, seeking another office or retirement.

At the end of the qualifying period, 23 incumbents (6 Republicans; 17 Democrats) had no opposition and were automatically re-elected.  Further, three new Democratic members were elected in the primary and one Democrat won election when her write-in opponent dropped out a week before the General Election.  Following Tuesday’s election, the Democrats appear to have gained five seats, and two other seats are heading into a recount.  Below is a listing of the new and re-elected House members.

2019-20 Florida House of Representatives

District

Candidate

Race Comments

1

Hill, Mike (R)

Former State Representative; Insurance Agent

2

Andrade, Alex (R)

Elected in Primary; State Attorney, Prosecutor

3

Williamson, Jayer (R)

Electrical Contractor

4

Ponder, Mel (R)

President of Workplace Ministry; Realtor

5

Drake, Brad (R)

Elected without Opposition; Marketing Executive

6

Trumbull, Jay (R)

Small Business Owner

7

Beshears, Halsey (R)

Elected without Opposition; Bicycle Shop Owner

8

Alexander, Ramon (D)

Elected without Opposition; Non-profit Executive

9

Ausley, Loranne (D)

Elected without Opposition; Attorney and Consultant

10

Brannan, Chuck (R)

Former Highway Patrolman

11

Byrd, Cord (R)

Attorney

12

Yarborough, Clay (R)

Human Resource Supervisor

13

Davis, Tracie (D)

Elected without Opposition; Jacksonville Compliance Officer

14

Daniels, Kimberly (D)

Author; International Speaker

15

Duggan, Wyman (R)

Attorney

16

Fischer, Jason (R)

Engineer

17

Stevenson, Cyndi (R)

Certified Public Accountant

18

Cummings, Travis (R)

Elected without Opposition; Owner of Insurance, Employee Benefits Company

19

Payne, Bobby (R)

Electric Generation, Transmission Utility Manager

20

Watson Jr, Clovis (D)

Elected without Opposition; Retired Alachua City Manager

21

Clemons, Chuck (R)

College Administrator

22

Stone, Charlie (R)

President and Owner of Stone Petroleum Products, Inc.

23

McClain, Stan (R)

Residential Contractor

24

Renner, Paul (R)

Attorney

25

Leek, Tom (R)

Attorney

26

Henry, Patrick (D)

Fetterhoff, Elizabeth (R)

Family Counselor

Former Senate Aide

27

Santiago, David (R)

Financial Manager

28

Smith, David (R)

Retired Marine

29

Plakon, Scott (R)

Businessman

30

Goff-Marcil, Joy (D)

Beat Incumbent in General; Attorney

31

Sullivan, Jennifer (R)

State Representative

32

Brown, Cynthia (D)

Realtor

 

Sabatini, Anthony (R)

City Commissioner; Member of Army National Guard

33

Hage, Brett (R)

Business Owner

34

Massullo Jr, Ralph (R)

Dermatologist

35

Ingoglia, Blaise (R)

Chair of the Republican Party of Florida

36

Mariano, Amber (R)

Student

37

Zika, Ardian (R)

Business Owner

38

Burgess, Danny (R)

JAG Attorney

39

Tomkow, Josie (R)

Recent University of Florida Graduate

40

Burton, Colleen (R)

Strategic Planning Consultant

41

Killebrew, Sam (R)

Elected without Opposition; Retired Contractor

42

La Rosa, Mike (R)

Real Estate Broker

43

Cortes, John (D)

Elected without Opposition; Retired Corrections Officer

44

Thompson, Geraldine (D)

Beat Incumbent in General; Former State Legislator

45

Brown, Kamia (D)

Elected without Opposition, Community Development Professional

46

Antone, Bruce (D)

Consultant

47

Eskamani, Anna (D)

Community Activist

48

Mercado, Amy (D)

Director of Operations at National Mango Board

49

Smith, Carlos (D)

Community Activist

50

Plasencia, Rene (R)

Educator; Track Coach

51

Sirois, Tyler (R)

State Attorney

52

Altman, Thad (R)

Contractor

53

Fine, Randy (R)

Businessman

54

Grall, Erin (R)

Litigation Attorney

55

Pigman, Cary (R)

Emergency Room Physician

56

Bell, Melony (R)

Polk County Commissioner; Beekeeper

57

Beltran, Mike (R)

Attorney

58

McClure, Lawrence (R)

Environmental Mitigation Specialist

59

Hattersley, Adam (D)

Owner of Print Company

60

Toledo, Jackie (R)

Civil Engineer

61

Hart, Dianne (D)

Elected in the Primary; Beauty Shop Owner

62

Valdes, Susan (D)

Hillsborough School Board Member

63

Driskell, Fentrice (D)

Beat Incumbent in General; Attorney

64

Grant, James (R)

Attorney

65

Sprowls, Chris (R)

Attorney; Former Prosecutor

66

DiCeglie, Nick (R)

Sanitation Business Owner

67

Latvala, Chris (R)

Vice President of Marketing Company

68

Diamond, Ben (D)

Elected without Opposition; Attorney

69

Webb, Jennifer (D)

Small Business Owner

70

Newton, Newt (D)

Re-elected in the Primary; Photographer

71

Robinson, Will (R)

Attorney

72

Good, Margaret (D)

Attorney

73

Gregory, Tommy (R)

Lt. Colonel; Attorney

74

Buchanan, James (R)

Real Estate Professional

75

Grant, Michael J. (R)

Ambulance Service Owner

76

Rodrigues, Ray (R)

Budget Manager for Florida Gulf Coast University

77

Eagle, Dane (R)

Real Estate Broker

78

Fitzenhagen, Heather (R)

Litigation Attorney

79

Roach, Spencer (R)

Retired Coast Guard Officer; Attorney

80

Donalds, Byron (R)

Financial Advisor

81

Polsky, Tina (D)

Elected in the Primary; Mediator; Attorney

82

Magar, MaryLynn (R)

Heart Care Imaging General Manager

83

Overdorf, Toby (R)

Environmental Consultant

84

Johnson, Delores (D)

Retired School Administrator

85

Roth, Rick (R)

Agriculture Business Owner

86

Willhite, Matt (D)

Firefighter

87

Silvers, David (D)

President of Publishing Company

88

Jacquet, Al (D)

Attorney

89

Bonfiglio, Jim (D)

Caruso, Mike (R)

Insurance Attorney

Forensic CPA

90

Casello, Joseph A. (D)

Elected without Opposition; Boynton Beach Commissioner

91

Slosberg, Emily Ann (D)

Elected without Opposition; CEO Dori Slosberg Foundation

92

Hawkins-Williams, Patricia (D)

Retired Early Learning Director

93

LaMarca, Chip (R)

Broward County Commissioner; Contractor

94

DuBose, Bobby (D)

Elected without Opposition, Insurance Agent

95

Omphroy, Anika (D)

Elected without Opposition; Owner of Event Planning Company

96

Jacobs, Kristin (D)

Public Policy Professional

97

Moskowitz, Jared (D)

Attorney

98

Gottlieb, Michael (D)

Attorney

99

Jenne, Evan (D)

Elected without Opposition; Not-for-profit Board Member

100

Geller, Joe (D)

Elected without Opposition; Administrative Attorney

101

Jones, Shevrin (D)

Elected without Opposition; Leaders by Empowerment CEO

102

Pritchett, Sharon (D)

Elected without Opposition; Retired Investigator; Public Defender

103

Polo, Cindy (D)

Homemaker

104

Stark, Rick (D)

Elected without Opposition; Insurance Agent

105

Rodriguez, Ana Maria (R)

City Council Member

106

Rommel, Bob (R)

Restaurant Owner

107

Watson, Barbara (D)

Elected without Opposition; Former Miami Gardens Councilwoman

108

Joseph, Dotie (D)

Beat Incumbent in Primary; Civil Rights Attorney

109

Bush III, James (D)

Elected in Primary; Former State Representative

110

Oliva, Jose (R)

Elected without Opposition; CEO of Oliva Cigar

111

Avila, Bryan (R)

College Professor

112

Duran, Nicholas (D)

Executive Director, Florida Association of Free & Charitable Clinics

113

Grieco, Michael (D)

Elected in Primary; Former Miami Beach Commissioner

114

Fernandez, Javier (D)

Attorney

115

Aloupis, Vance (R)

CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida

 

Solomon, Jeffrey (D)

Chiropractor

116

Perez, Daniel (R)

Attorney

117

McGhee, Kionne (D)

Elected without Opposition; Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office

118

Rodriguez, Anthony (R)

Beat Incumbent in General; Owner of Community Association Management Company

119

Fernandez-Barquin, Juan (R)

Insurance Defense Attorney

120

Raschein, Holly (R)

Healthcare Special Projects Manager

Bold denotes Incumbent

Red font denotes Recount

The Florida Congressional Delegation

United States Senate                                                        Rick Scott – 50.21%


Only one of the state’s two Senators – U.S. Senator Bill Nelson – was up for re-election this cycle.  And although Nelson did not have a primary opponent, he faced the fight of his career in the General Election against outgoing Governor Rick Scott. 

Nelson has held the seat for 18 years, a fact Scott used as a campaign talking point.  Scott and his supporters accused Nelson of being out of touch with Florida voters and blindly following his party leaders.  Scott was slammed for not expanding Medicaid and supporting measures that would have allowed insurers to exclude pre-existing conditions.  In the end, Scott’s well-financed campaign boosted him to a slim lead over Nelson. On the morning after the election, Nelson requested a recount.  State law requires an automatic recount when the margin of victory is equal to or less than 0.5 percent of the total votes cast for that office.  If the margin is equal to or less than 0.25 percent, a hand recount is ordered; otherwise, an electronic counter is used.

U.S. House - Florida Delegation: 14 Republicans/14 Democrats


The party breakdown of the state Congressional Delegation prior to the election was 16 Republicans to 12 Democrats.  At the close of qualifying, two Democratic Congresswomen were re-elected without opposition.  Further, there were three open seats that were previously held by Republicans.  Ultimately, Democrats picked up two South Florida seats, making the breakdown tied at 14 members of each party.  Outlined below are the members of the Florida Congressional Delegation.

Florida Congressional Delegation

District

Candidate

Race Comments

1

Gaetz, Matt  (R)

Attorney

2

Dunn, Neal  (R)

Retired Surgeon

3

Yoho, Ted  (R)

Large Animal Veterinarian

4

Rutherford, John (R)

Sheriff

5

Lawson, Al  (D)

Former State Legislator; Insurance Company Owner

6

Waltz, Michael  (R)

Former Fox News Contributor; Small Business Owner

7

Murphy, Stephanie  (D)

College Instructor

8

Posey, Bill  (R)

Real Estate Executive

9

Soto, Darren  (D)

Attorney

10

Demings, Val  (D)

Re-elected in Primary; Former Orlando Chief of Police

11

Webster, Daniel  (R)

Air Conditioning Contractor

12

Bilirakis, Gus (R)

Attorney; Former State Representative

13

Crist, Charlie  (D)

Attorney; Former Governor

14

Castor, Kathy (D)

Re-elected without Opposition; Attorney

15

Spano, Ross  (R)

Former State Representative; Attorney

16

Buchanan, Vern  (R)

Automobile Dealer

17

Steube, Greg  (R)

Attorney; Florida Senator

18

Mast, Brian  (R)

US Army Veteran; Homeland Security Specialist

19

Rooney, Francis  (R)

Business Owner; Former Ambassador

20

Hastings, Alcee (D)

Attorney; Judge

21

Frankel, Lois (D)

Re-elected without Opposition; Attorney

22

Deutch, Ted  (D)

Attorney

23

Wasserman Schultz, Debbie (D)

 Former Chair of Democratic National Committee; Former State Legislator

24

Wilson, Frederica S. (D)

Re-elected in Primary; Educator

25

Diaz-Balart, Mario  (R)

Former State Representative and Senator

26

Mucarsel-Powell, Debbie  (D)

Non-Profit Director at FIU College of Health

27

Shalala, Donna  (D)

Former University of Miami President; Health and Human Services Secretary

*Bold denotes Incumbent

Amendments to the Florida Constitution (11 of 12 Approved)


For a proposed amendment to be added to the Constitution, it must garner at least 60 percent of the vote.  On Tuesday, Floridians cast votes on 12 proposed constitutional amendments.  Three were placed on the ballot by joint resolution of the legislature; two by citizens’ initiative; and eight by way of the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). This was the largest number of amendments on a ballot since 1998, the last time the CRC met. 

The CRC convenes once every 20 years to examine the state’s Constitution and propose changes for voter consideration.  The commission held 15 public hearings across the state and reviewed more than 2,100 proposals submitted by commissioners and the public.

Leading up to the General Election, numerous challenges were filed to several proposed amendments sponsored by the CRC on the basis that the ballot summaries were misleading.  Also, opponents challenged the fact that several amendments bundled unlike provisions together.  Bundling became an issue due to the concern that voters would be forced to make decisions on one amendment containing multiple provisions.

One proposal – Amendment 8 – was struck from the ballot on August 20.  The amendment would have permitted the state to operate, control, and supervise public schools not established by the school board; created term limits of eight consecutive years for school board members; and required the legislature to provide for promotion of civic literacy in schools.  A Leon Circuit Court judge ruled that the title and ballot summary were misleading because they did not mention charter schools, although it primarily dealt with that issue.  On September 7, the Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, upheld the Circuit Court decision.

The amendment was also under a legal challenge filed in the Leon County Circuit Court on August 31 and sent by the Supreme Court to the circuit court for initial consideration on September 5.  The argument claimed that the CRC improperly tied together unrelated issues in a single ballot proposal (one of six CRC proposals being challenged on this basis) – Anstead and Barnas vs. Ken Detzner: Petition for Writ of Quo Warranto.

Amendment 1 –Increase in Homestead Property Tax Exemption: Defeated – 58%


Sponsor:  Legislature - Challenge: None

  • Increased the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies -- with the maximum exemption climbing to $75,000.

Amendment 2 – Limitation on Property Tax Assessment: Approved – 66%


Sponsor: Legislature - Challenge: None

  • Permanently retains provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified non-homestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year;
  • Removes the scheduled repeal of provisions in 2019.
  • Effective January 1, 2019

Amendment 3 – Voter Control of Gambling: Approved – 71%


Sponsor: Citizens Initiative (Voters in Charge) - Challenge:  None

  • Gives voters the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling, except that the Legislature could authorize the Seminole Tribe to offer additional games at its existing casinos.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 4 – Voting Restoration: Approved – 64%


Sponsor: Citizen Initiative (Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Inc.) - Challenge:  None

  • Restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation;
  • Does not apply to convictions for murder or sexual offenses unless Governor and Cabinet restore rights on case-by-case basis.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 5 – Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees: Approved – 65%


Sponsor: Legislature - Challenge: None

  • Prohibits the Legislature from raising a state tax or fee unless approved by a two-thirds vote of each chamber in a bill containing no other subject.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 6 – Rights of Crime Victims; Interpreting Statutes; Judges: Approved – 61%


Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission - Challenge: Yes

On August 27, the amendment was removed from the ballot by the Leon County Circuit Court on the basis that the title and ballot summary were misleading. Greenberg Traurig successfully defended the measure and on September 7, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment and ordered the amendment back on the ballot without allowing a motion for rehearing.

  • Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime, known as Marsy’s Law;
  • Requires state courts to independently interpret statutes rather than deferring to administrative agencies;
  • Increases the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75, effective July 2019.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 7 – First Responder and Military Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities: Approved – 65%


Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission - Challenge: Yes

A challenge to the amendment was initially filed in the Supreme Court and sent to circuit court for first consideration on September 5 on the basis that the Constitution Revision Commission improperly tied together unrelated issues in a single ballot proposal (one of six CRC proposals challenged on this basis).

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers struck the amendment from the ballot, agreeing that the amendment improperly “bundled” unrelated issues.  Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal on September 7.  The DCA, on September 11, sent the case to the Supreme Court for resolution, bypassing the appellate process, due to the issue being of “great public importance”.  On October 17, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of retaining the Amendment 7 on the ballot.

  • Grants mandatory death benefits and waives certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military who die performing duties;
  • Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and board of governors to raise or impose legislatively authorized fees;
  • Establishes state college system as constitutional entity.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 9 – Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces: Approved – 68%


Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission - Challenge: Yes

A challenge to the amendment was initially filed in the Supreme Court and sent to circuit court for first consideration on September 5 on the basis that the CRC improperly tied together unrelated issues in a single ballot proposal (one of six CRC proposals challenged on this basis).

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers struck the amendment from the ballot, agreeing that it improperly “bundled” unrelated issues.   Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal on September 7.  The DCA, on September 11, sent the case to the Supreme Court for resolution, bypassing the appellate process, due to the issue being of “great public importance.”  On October 17, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of retaining the Amendment 9 on the ballot.

  • Prohibits drilling for oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between mean high-water line and state’s outermost territorial boundaries;
  • Prohibits vaping in enclosed indoor workspaces; permits more restrictive local vaping ordinances.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 10 – State and Local Government Structure and Operation: Approved – 63%


Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission - Challenge:  Yes

Circuit Judge James Shelfer, on August 30, rejected a challenge from Volusia and Broward counties that the amendment’s ballot language and summary were misleading.  On September 7, the Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s decision and approved Amendment 10 for placement on the ballot.  No motion for rehearing was allowed.  This proposal was defended by Greenberg Traurig.                        

A challenge to the amendment was initially filed in the Supreme Court and sent to circuit court for first consideration on September 5 on the basis that the Constitution Revision Commission improperly tied together unrelated issues in a single ballot proposal (one of six CRC proposals challenged on this basis).

  • Requires legislature to retain Department of Veterans’ Affairs;
  • Ensures elections of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court – removes county charters’ ability to alter term, duties, or eliminate election;
  • Changes legislative session to January in even-numbered years;
  • Creates Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within Department of Law Enforcement.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 11 – Property Rights, Removal of Obsolete Provisions; Criminal Statutes: Approved – 62%


Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission - Challenge:  Yes

A challenge to the amendment was initially filed in the Supreme Court and sent to circuit court for first consideration on September 5 on the basis that the CRC improperly tied together unrelated issues in a single ballot proposal (one of six CRC proposals challenged on this basis).

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers struck the amendment from the ballot, agreeing that the amendment improperly “bundled” unrelated issues.  Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal on September 7.  The DCA, on September 11, sent the case to the Supreme Court for resolution, bypassing the appellate process, due to the issue being of “great public importance”.  On October 17, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of retaining the Amendment 11 on the ballot.

  • Repeals discriminatory language prohibiting foreign born persons ineligible for citizenship from ownership, inheritance, disposition and possession of real property;
  • Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment;
  • Removes obsolete language regarding high-speed rail transportation.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 12 – Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officials: Approved – 78%


Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission - Challenge: None

  • Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers (during or six years after);
  • Creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges;
  • Prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.
  • Effective January 8, 2019

Amendment 13 – Ends Dog Racing: Approved – 68%


Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission - Challenge:  Yes

The Leon County Circuit Court ruled the amendment’s ballot summary misleading on August 2nd.  The Supreme Court heard the appeal on August 29, and on September 7, the Court reversed the Circuit Court decision, ordering that Amendment 13 appear on the ballot.  No motion for rehearing was allowed.

  • Phases out commercial dog racing regarding wagering by 2020;
  • Other gaming activities are not affected.
  • Effective January 8, 2018