The race for a seat in the state House of Representatives is already over in half of the districts in Palm Beach County.
In five of the nine districts that represent the county, the incumbents were unopposed. Four will see Democrats re-elected, and in each of these cases, the makeup of the district is such that Democrats enjoy an overwhelming majority of voters.
State Rep. Pat Rooney, the lone Republican returning unopposed, represents a district where 37.1 percent of voters are Republican compared to 35 percent Democratic. Rooney won in 2012 by 15 percent in a district that voted for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama by only 3.8 percent.
In the remaining four state House races, the incumbent faces a challenger from the main opposition party, but most of those challengers have raised almost no money and are largely unknown in their districts.
An exception is David Silvers, a Democrat who will run against Republican state Rep. Bill Hager. Add up contributions, loans, and in-kind donations, then subtract expenditures, and Silvers actually has more money on hand than the incumbent. Republicans have just a 1.8 percent advantage in the district, though Hager won re-election by 5.4 percent in 2012.
In the state Senate, the big race in South Florida – indeed, in the entire state – is District 34, in which Ellyn Bogdanoff and state Sen. Maria Sachs are set for a rematch.
The two faced each other in 2012 in the most costly state Senate race in Florida. Sachs won by just under 6 percent. Only one other state Senate race in the entire state finished in single digits.
Sachs has an advantage in voter registration, with Democrats at an 8-point advantage in the district. But last time around, Bogdanoff raised far more money than Sachs. And this time, the midterm election means less turnout, which usually favors Republicans. But with a contentious gubernatorial race and the issue of medical marijuana on the ballot, that midterm Republican advantage may be erased. If not, this race may be closer than in 2012.
District 32 (Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Stuart, Vero Beach): Brandon Cannon, R-Port St. Lucie; Bruno Moore, D-Port St. Lucie; Joe Negron*, R-Stuart.
District 34 (Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale): Joseph Bensmihen, R-Boca Raton; Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale; Jonathan Jamal Marc, NPA-Fort Lauderdale; Maria Sachs,* D-Boca Raton.
District 82 (Jupiter, Tequesta): Mary Higgins, D-Tequesta; MaryLynn Magar*, R-Tequesta.
District 85 (Loxahatchee, Juno Beach, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach): Pat Rooney*, R-West Palm Beach.
District 87 (Glen Ridge, Lake Worth, Haverhill): Dave Kerner*, D-Lake Worth.
District 88 (Boynton Beach, Lantana, Riviera Beach): Bobby Powell Jr.*, D-West Palm Beach.
District 90 (Atlantis, Greenacres): Lori Berman*, D-Boca Raton.
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