Reggie Fullwood built an early lead among absentee and early voters and held on to capture the Democratic nomination for Florida House District 13 seat. A general election is scheduled in February.
Fullwood captured 63 percent of the vote in a race against Jacksonville City Councilman Johnny Gaffney. Unofficial results showed with 48 of 48 precincts reporting, Fullwood had 3,547 votes to Gaffney’s 2,014. According to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office, 6,567 participated in the election. Gaffney would have to capture nearly all of the remaining vote-by-mail ballots to pull off an upset.
Records indicate there are more than 90,000 registered voters live in the District.
Fullwood had held the seat for two terms and no one had filed to run against him in the November 2014 election. But failure to correctly file paperwork to qualify as a candidate forced a special election and placed his immediate political career in jeopardy.
More voters participated by mail than showed up at the polls on Election Day. According to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office, there were 2,398 ballots mailed in, 1,028 people who voted early, and 2,135 voters who voted at their precinct Tuesday.
You can check turnout and vote totals here.
Gaffney raised nearly as much money as Fullwood for the special primary; Gaffney campaign finance documents reported he raised $42,000 to Fullwood’s $41,000. But Fullwood had the backing of the Democratic Party of Florida which funneled about $28,000 to his campaign. Twenty-three of Fullwood’s 53 contributions came from Tallahassee addresses.
Fewer than 7,000 voters participated in the primary and not many more are expected in the February general election, providing an opportunity for a GOP challenger to mobilize voters and overwhelm a lackluster turn out among Democratic voters.
Lawrence Jefferson has qualified as the Republican candidate in the Feb. 17 general election. He has served as treasurer for the Duval County Republican Executive Committee and works for the Duval County Sheriff’s Office.
Jefferson reports having raised $2,200 since Oct. 5.