Democrat Loranne Ausley of Tallahassee has regained the seat she once held in the Florida House, defeating Republican opponent Jim Messer.
Ausley won the race for House District 9 Tuesday night by 56 percent to 44 percent. She had held the seat 2000-08.
The district traditionally swings Democrat: It’s entirely within Leon County, where — as of Election Day — registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 109,815 to 57,407.
She also ran unsuccessfully for state CFO against Jeff Atwater in 2010. Ausley is on the record as supporting state worker raises, medical marijuana, and a hike in the minimum wage.
Messer, a personal-injury attorney, is a name partner in the law firm of Fonvielle, Lewis, Foote & Messer, having joined the firm in 1999. He’s also a former Army helicopter pilot.
Ausley, also a lawyer, had consistently outraised him, finishing the money race with total contributions of over $501,000 to Messer’s $148,000. Total expenditures were nearly $458,000 for Ausley and around $143,000 for Messer.
Ausley will replace the term-limited Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who held the district since Ausley’s departure.
Rehwinkel Vasilinda had been a Democrat who recently dropped her party affiliation and endorsed Donald Trump for president, leading some to speculate that she has future political aspirations.