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Jeff Brandes wins SD 24 seat after write-in candidate drops out

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Jeff Brandes has won the state Senate District 24 seat.

Although the 40-year-old Brandes had no Democratic opponent (or a Republican one in last month’s primary), he was facing write-in candidate Alexander Johnson in the Nov. 8 election.

However, Johnson has now dropped out of the race, effectively making Brandes the winner.

Brandes has been in the Florida Legislature since 2010, when he defeated Democrat Bill Heller in the House District 52 race in Pinellas County.

After a single term in the House, Brandes ran for Senate District 22 in 2012, where his greatest challenge was in the Republican primary against longtime Pinellas County lawmaker Jim Frishe, who Brandes defeated 58 to 43 percent.

In 2014, Brandes’ faced University of South Florida-St. Petersburg professor Judithanne McLachlan, who the Democrats had great hopes for a serious challenge in the Hillsborough/Pinellas seat. But Brandes won easily, 58 percent to 42 percent.

All 40 Senate districts are up for re-election this fall because of redistricting, but those districts assigned odd numbers get four-year terms, while even-numbered districts get two-year terms that would require senators to run again in 2018 to get a full four-year term. In this case, Brandes will once again be running for this seat in two more years.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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