Aug 11, 2022 - Politics

What Tampa Bay voters need to know ahead of Florida's primary election

Illustration of a checkmark over a square changing into a question mark.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Less than two weeks away is the Florida primary election to decide which Democrats will face off against Ron DeSantis for governor and Marco Rubio for U.S. senator in November.

  • Also on the ballot: Candidates for the U.S. House, the state Legislature, state attorney general and agricultural commissioner, judges, school board members, and important local questions.

Notable races: The winner between U.S. Rep. and former Gov. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nicole "Nikki" Fried will go head-to-head with DeSantis this fall.

  • Tampa Republican and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Aramis Ayala of Orlando, Jim Lewis of Fort Lauderdale and Daniel Uhlfelder of Santa Rosa Beach.
  • U.S. Rep. Val Demings leads a group vying to face Rubio.
  • Pasco's Wilton Simpson is facing James Shaw of Vero Beach in the Republican primary for state agriculture commissioner.

Zoom in: Referendums to raise taxes to fund schools are on ballots in two Tampa Bay counties:

  • Hillsborough County voters will be asked whether the school board can raise taxes to the tune of an additional $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value. The tax increase would bring in some $146 million annually for four years and be used to raise salaries, expand art, music and P.E., and for workforce development.
  • The Pasco County School Board is also looking to raise taxes in a similar plan.

Details: Here are your primary choices in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota.

The backdrop: Following the 2020 census, borders of voting districts were redrawn to account for population changes.

  • According to a Five Thirty Eight analysis, new maps introduced by Gov. DeSantis will give Republicans "six more seats in Congress this year than they would get under a perfectly fair map."
  • Critics are challenging the maps, but the Florida Supreme Court won't hear the case until after the elections.

For reference: Ballotpedia shows the old and new maps for comparison and also offers bios of many candidates, down to local judges' races.

Key dates for Hillsborough County

Primary election:

  • Deadline to request a mail-in ballot: Aug. 13
  • Early voting: Aug. 8-21
  • Election day: Aug. 23, 7am-7pm

General election:

  • Deadline to request a mail-in ballot: Oct. 29
  • Early voting: Oct. 24-Nov. 6
  • Election Day: Nov. 8, 7am-7pm

Of note: The voter registration deadline for the primary has passed. But you can still register for the general through Oct. 11 on the Florida Department of State website.


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