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The mid-term elections are underway. Here's what's going on in Northwest Florida

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Hunter Morrison
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WUWF Public Media

For information about local races and referendums click here
For information about state and federal races and amendments click here

>>>LIVE ELECTION UPDATES

>>>NPR LIVE BLOG

Tuesday, Nov. 8

10:30
Two new commissioners for Santa Rosa County and a recount

Holley resident Ray Eddington has defeated incumbent Dave Piech for the Santa Rosa County District 4 seat. This is a pattern for District 4 with commissioners losing second-term races since the 1990s.

In District 2, Kerry Smith has easily won his race against write-in candidate Clifton Wheeler.

In the City of Milton, there will be a recount for Ward 2 seat with Marilyn Farrow beating incumbent Wesley Meiss by one vote.

9:52 p.m.

Florida GOP gains four state senate seats
Florida Republicans gained four seats in the state Senate on Tuesday, ousting two incumbents as Democrats were eclipsed in the midterm elections up and down the ballot.

The general election marked Florida voters’ first opportunity to cast ballots in newly drawn state House and Senate seats, the result of the once-a-decade redistricting process.

Republicans, who already control both chambers of the Legislature, notched victories in several hard-fought Senate races, knocking out incumbent Democrats Janet Cruz of Tampa and Loranne Ausley of Tallahassee.

Following Tuesday’s races, Republicans’ 28-12 lead in the Senate now comprises a more than two-thirds supermajority, a status that gives the caucus a near-lockdown on power in the upper chamber. House Republicans also now have a supermajority. Read the entire story here.

News Service of Florida

9:20 p.m.

Patton 'grateful' for support as she wins City Council District 6 race

Allison Patton has won the the run-off race against incumbent Ann Hill for City of Pensacola District 6.

Hill was first elected to the seat in 2018. During her time in office, she has also pursued action on stormwater improvement and water quality testing, a stronger tree ordinance, and opening Bruce Beach to the public.

Patton is an attorney, who recently retired from a 32-year career in the Financial Services Industry, primarily with Morgan Stanley. She says she is grateful to voters and is looking forward to working with Mayor-elect D.C. Reeves to make Pensacola "the place we all know it can be."

"My door will always been open to hear from city residents and I want to start working on issues like our safety, homelessness, affordable housing and a strategic plan to help Pensacola reach its potential."

Jennie McKeon

9:15 p.m.

Four of five City of Pensacola charter amendments rejected

Pensacola voters rejected nearly all of the proposed city charter amendments, except for Amendment 4 which sets the annual salary of members of City Council each year by a formula derived from Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, beginning in 2024.

9:03 p.m.

GOP sweep cabinet races

The Florida Cabinet returned to an all-Republican lineup Tuesday as outgoing Senate President Wilton Simpson was elected agriculture commissioner and Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis won second terms.

The three Republicans were widely expected to win, as they dominated in fundraising and as the state Democratic Party did not focus on the races. Simpson defeated Naomi Blemur, while Moody beat Aramis Ayala and Patronis won over Adam Hattersley.

News Service of Florida

8:56 p.m.

Gulf Breeze Mayor, councilmembers win re-election

Gulf Breeze Mayor Cherry Fitch has won re-election in City of Gulf Breeze and two incumbent city council members Todd Torgersen and Randy Hebert.

Fitch, a realtor by trade, was appointed Mayor in February 2019, after serving on Gulf Breeze City Council since 2012.

8:37 p.m.

No to Florida Amendments

None of the statewide amendments were able to meet the 60% threshold to pass. For more on those amendments, visit WUWF Local News.

8:03 p.m.

Charles Bare said he'll look to three opponents to 'make something good' for District 2

Charles Bare has won the District 2 runoff race against challenger — and neighbor — Char Powell. Bare said all of the candidates have brought up concerns such as stormwater, protecting Carpenter's Creek and public safety throughout the race and he plans to work with his opponents to "pool ideas" for the future.

And no, he said, it won't be awkward walking the neighborhood post Election Day.

"I walk the neighborhood every morning with the dog and see them (opponents)," he said. "I'm looking forward to working with the new mayor, D.C. Reeves and to do what I can to enable his agenda and look out for my district."

In a Facebook live video, Char Powell addressed the loss and said she was thankful for the support she received and said she did win when it c7ame to understanding her district more and meeting amazing people.

"Everything I said I cared about, I still care about. Just because I'm not in an elected seat does not stop me from working for the people of Pensacola and District 2."

Jennie McKeon

7:47 p.m.
New faces on Pensacola City Council
With all precincts reporting, it appears Charles Bare has won the runoff race for City Council District 2 against neighbor Charletha Powell. And in District 6, incumbent Ann Hill has lost her seat to Allison Patton, an attorney, who recently retired from a 32-year career in the Financial Services Industry, primarily with Morgan Stanley. Since retiring, Patton has become actively involved in the Northwest Florida Homeless Reduction Task Force. In addition to economic growth, she says improving public safety is her top priority.

7:17 p.m.
Statewide and federal races
Statewide and federal races have GOP wins. Michelle Salzman and Alex Andrade have easily won re-election. Matt Gaetz has also secured his seat representing District 1. Associated Press has called Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis as winners.

6:15 p.m.

Lines are forming in the last hour of voting
At Saint Sylvester Church in Navarre, a line is wrapped around the building with voters waiting to cast their ballots. And in Milton, a line has formed at precinct 18. Voters can continue to cast ballots as long as they are in line by 7 p.m.

3:38 p.m.

11:52 a.m.
Nearly 4.92 million Floridians cast ballots so far
Heading into Tuesday’s elections, nearly 4.92 million Floridians had cast ballots by mail or at early voting sites, according to data posted on the state Division of Elections website.

The data showed that about 2.13 million registered Republicans and 1.81 million registered Democrats had voted.

Another 984,000 unaffiliated and third-party voters had cast ballots.

Secretary of State Cord Byrd spoke to reporters in Tallahassee Tuesday morning.

“We are fortunate to have numerous options in Florida to cast our votes securely and safely," said Secretary of State Cord Byrd spoke to reporters in Tallahassee Tuesday morning. "We encourage all Floridians who have not already voted to make sure they submit their ballots before 7pm local time today. There is still plenty of time to vote.” 

Polling places opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will remain open until 7 p.m. local time.

News Service of Florida

11:39 a.m.
Wages of interest to Panhandle residents
The economy is a major keyword for the 2022 midterm elections. But in Northwest Florida, it's about wages. At least according to Google searches in local counties. According to Google Trends, "wages" is the top searched topic in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties in the past week. Other top searches include social security and healthcare. At the bottom? Economy and abortion, which are expected to be two big issues driving people to the polls nationwide.

9:56 a.m.
Follow statewide results and numbers
Follow Fresh Take Florida for updates on statewide returns and turnouts. As of 10 a.m. EST, republican voters have a 516,000 lead over Democrats. This is just a reflection of registered voters and not who they voted for.

9:02 a.m.
Voters lined up in Navarre
At St. Sylvester Catholic Church, dozens were already in line to vote just after polls opened at 7 a.m. Poll workers were ready as the line snaked around the room.

After he voted, one Navarre resident, who declined to share his name, said he votes in every election. This year, however, was an important one. Issues that matter to him right now include inflation and gas prices, although he notes that inflation is global issue and not just limited to the U.S.

"Our country is hurting right now," he said. "It's important for our livelihood our lives (to vote)."

Choosing to vote in person, he said it was a way to ensure his vote counted. Local election officials have touted the security of voting by mail.

"I don't trust things anymore," said the Navarre resident. "You don't know if things are getting stolen or not. Do it in person and it's as honest as you can be."

Don White and his wife were also voting in person. It's more of a tradition than anything else. White said he thinks the referendum to authorize ad valorem taxes to support Holley Navarre Fire District was a big issue for local voters. Beyond that, he says, it's just a matter of doing his civic duty.

"We vote every year it's our right and we feel its important to vote," he said. "You see a lot of people who want to complain whether they lean right or left and in my opinion you have no right to complain if you're not going to exercise your vote. It's a very important and critical thing."

Jennie McKeon

Monday, Nov. 7

Early voting results
As of Monday, Nov. 7 more than 4.7 million Florida residents have voted early either by mail or in person. In Escambia County, more than 65,000 voters, about 28% of registered voters have already cast their ballots. In Santa Rosa County, more than 40,000 ballots were cast and in Okaloosa County, more than 46,000 ballots were cast, representing about 32% of registered voters. These numbers are unofficial.