By Jim Ellis — August 18, 2022
In the newly created open 4th Congressional District seat in Jacksonville, St. Pete Polls (Aug. 4; 312 FL-4 registered Republican voters; interactive voice response system) state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), with the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), has a huge lead over his main opponent, Erick Aguilar (R). The ballot test finds Sen. Bean holding a whopping 59-16 percent advantage. Aguilar got into trouble in the race when intimating in fundraising appeals that Gov. DeSantis supported him. The governor then made his preference clear, which sent the Aguilar campaign on a downward spiral.
St. Pete Polls also conducted a very small sample survey of the state’s 7th District, which now includes part of the Orlando area and stretches to the Atlantic Ocean through Volusia County. Though the poll (Aug. 5; 205 FL-7 likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) is far below the typical sample-size standard for a congressional district, the results were consistent with other earlier polls. This one found Iraq/Afghan War veteran Cory Mills, who attracted national attention when organizing flights into Afghanistan to rescue people when the Taliban was over-running the country, leading state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills) 23-22 percent. Though the race features eight Republican candidates, the primary battle appears to be winnowing down to Mills and Sabatini. The Republican primary winner will be favored in the general election.
The open St. Petersburg-anchored 13th District is also featuring a close contest. An American Viewpoint survey (July 24-27; 400 FL-13 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds attorney Kevin Hayslett coming close to 2020 GOP nominee Anna Paulina Luna, who carries former President Trump’s endorsement. The AV results found Luna leading Hayslett, 36-34 percent. Reports suggest that a more recent Hayslett internal poll drew a similar conclusion. The Republican winner will oppose former Defense Department official Eric Lynn who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The post-redistricting 13th now favors a Republican in the general election.
St. Pete Polls also conducted a small-sample survey of the state’s new 15th District race, the seat Florida gained in national reapportionment. The poll (Aug. 1; 275 FL-15 likely Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) is another survey too small to be considered highly reliable, but the result shows such an overwhelming spread as to be reliable. The St. Pete ballot test finds former Secretary of State Laurel Lee leading state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), and retired Navy Capt. Kevin McGovern, 44-16-11-5 percent respectively. Though the general election will be competitive, St. Pete Polls has not surveyed the Democratic primary here.
Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Miramar) won the special Democratic primary by just five votes over former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach), but little polling has been conducted of the regular election re-match. The most recent survey, from RMG Research, came in early June and found the new congresswoman topping Holness, 45-21 percent. Still, this is a race to watch on Aug. 23. The Democratic winner will secure the seat in November.
IN-2: Defeated AG Announces for House Seat — Former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R), who was rejected in the Republican renomination process after sexual impropriety claims became public, is in the congressional candidate mix to succeed the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R). After the claims became public, Hill was suspended from practicing law for a 30-day period, which was enough to force his resignation from office.
To replace Walorski on the ballot for both the special election to fill her unexpired term and the regular election, the 2nd District Republican committee will meet on Aug. 20 to select a new nominee. Also requesting consideration for the nomination are state Rep. Curtis Nisly (R-Elkhart County); former state Rep. Christy Stutzman, wife of former US Rep. Marlin Stutzman; businessman Rudolph Yakym, a former Walorski finance director who has the congresswoman’s widowed husband’s endorsement; and attorney Tiernan Kane.
The Democrats are expected to nominate their 2022 congressional nominee, educator Paul Steury, who won the May 3 primary. Republicans are favored to hold the seat, which the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+26.