Incumbents hold off challengers for Florida House seats

Paul Renner and Cyndi Stevenson — two Republican incumbents in the Florida House — will return to Tallahassee for at least another two years to represent the two districts covering St. Johns County after defeating challengers by big margins Tuesday in midterm elections, according to unofficial election night results.

District 24

At press time, Renner was on track to defeat St. Johns County resident Adam Morley for the third time in the last three years to take the Florida House Of Representatives District 24 seat, according to unofficial election night results, with 61 percent of the vote.

In St. Johns County, Renner captured 62.6 percent of the over 19,000 votes cast in seven precincts, early results showed. Renner had 59.5 percent of the vote in Flagler County and 64.5 percent of the vote in Volusia County at time of press, according to state election results.

Renner, a Palm Coast resident, will represent Flagler County, parts of northern Volusia County and southern St. Johns County.

Renner, an attorney whose background includes a 23-year career in the Navy, has said that Florida needs to stay on course with its low-taxes approach to prevent people and businesses from leaving for other states. He’s also come out against a “Medicare for all” system and been an outspoken supporter for veterans.

Renner was unable to be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Morley also challenged Renner to fill a vacancy in 2015, then for the two-year term in 2016.

Renner has been pegged as a possible future House Speaker if he is able to navigate re election bids in 2020 and 2022.

District 17 

Stevenson defeated no-party affiliation candidate Jaime Perkins on Tuesday to capture Florida House District 17 seat by a wide margin, capturing more than 70 percent of the votes, according to unofficial election night results.

“I am grateful for the support and it’s an honor to work hard and serve this community for another two years,” Stevenson said Tuesday evening. “Every election belongs to the people and this one is no different.”

District 17 covers most of middle and northern St. Johns County. Stevenson received more than 72,000 votes while Perkins received over 30,000 of the more than 100,000 votes cast with 38 of the 40 precincts reporting.

Stevenson is a former County Commissioner and certified public accountant who lives in northwest St. Johns County. She was elected to the St. Johns County Commission in 2004 and was elected to the State House in a special election in April 2015.

She’s served on several State House committees, including the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, Health Quality Subcommittee and the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.

Stevenson said one of her primary focuses is getting more funding for mental health or substance abuse issues, including supportive housing, and clean water.

“We want to make sure St. Johns County continues to be a great place to live,” Stevenson said. “We don’t want to let the growth machine overrun that, that we make sure to take care of home.”

Originally posted on The St. Augustine Record by Travis Gibson.