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Donald Trump win fueled by Panhandle, Lee, Brevard, Pasco counties

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

President-elect Donald Trump‘s victory in Florida Tuesday included complete dominance of most Panhandle counties, but it was his success in a handful of medium-size counties scattered throughout the state such as Lee, Brevard, Pasco, and Clay that carried him past Hillary Clinton.

In fact, were it not for the sizable margins of voters Trump picked up in winning Lee (66,416) and Brevard (62,095) counties, Clinton would have won Florida.

Trump won Florida by 119,673 votes, according to the unofficial returns posted by the Florida Department of State. He got 49 percent, and Clinton got 48 percent.

Clinton absolutely dominated the South Florida megapolis of Miami-Fort Lauderdale and did well in the Orlando-Kissimmee area. But she won only nine counties total in Florida, and Trump won the other 58, including a broad swath across North Florida that included everything except for the Tallahassee area of Leon County and the mostly African-American Gadsden County.

Here’s what the picture looked like:

Trump got more than 80 percent of the vote in six Panhandle counties: Holmes, Lafayette, Baker, Dixie, Union, and Gilchrist. He topped 70 percent in 15 other counties, all in the Panhandle or the North Florida-Jacksonville area. He topped 60 percent in a total of 41 counties throughout Florida.

Clinton’s best showings were in Gadsden, where she drew 68 percent; Broward County, 66 percent; Miami-Dade County, 64 percent; Leon and Osceola counties, 61 percent; and Orange County, 60 percent. She won only three other counties, Alachua, Palm Beach, and Hillsborough.

Broward and Miami-Dade counties each gave Clinton cushions of about 289,000 votes; Orange threw in a 134,000-vote advantage for her; Palm Beach, despite a relatively close contest there, provided her with a 100,000-vote advantage; and Hillsborough, Leon, and Osceola each offered cushions of between 30,000 and 40,000 votes. But that, along with much smaller vote cushions provided by Alachua and Gadsden, was it for her. And they didn’t stack nearly high enough to match all the county cushions Trump won.

Trump had 30,000-vote or bigger wins just about all over Florida, and mostly in medium-sized counties.

They included, in the Southwest, Lee and Collier; in the I-4 corridor, Brevard, Pasco, Lake, Polk, Manatee and Volusia; in North Central Florida, Marion, Sumter, and Citrus; in the Panhandle, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Escambia; and in North Florida, Clay and St. Johns.

Trump didn’t take much in South Florida, though he did win Monroe County by almost 3,000 votes.

Where was it close? Trump won Pinellas, Seminole, and Duval counties by 2 percent each; St. Lucie County by 3 percent; Jefferson County by 5 percent; and Monroe by 7 percent. Clinton won Hillsborough County by 6 percent.

The other 61 counties were all double-digit spreads.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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