Aug 23, 2022 - Politics

Florida primaries: Tampa Bay-area races to watch

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Don't get stumped when you hit the polls today.

What's happening: While most of the media attention is focused on whether Charlie Crist or Nikki Fried will face incumbent Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial race in November, there's more to vote for.

Here are the three races we're watching:

Republicans for Congressional District 15: Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee is ahead in the polls. Her biggest competitor for a seat in the district, covering parts of Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties, is Sen. Kelli Stargel, who made headlines earlier this year when her daughter called her the "worst mom ever" on TikTok.

  • The polling underdog of the race, Rep. Jackie Toledo, told Axios that as an immigrant, she knows Florida's growing Hispanic conservative population best.
  • "I am the new face of the Republican Party," she said. "I'm going to be that voice for the Latino population."

Hillsborough County School Board: In Districts 2 and 6, battling endorsements from DeSantis and the Florida Democratic Party are shaping the nonpartisan race.

  • The Hillsborough County Democratic Party gave $10,000 to Damaris Allen, who was endorsed by state Democrats this week in her District 2 race against DeSantis-backed Stacy Hahn.
  • In District 6, Karen Perez got $1,000 from a political committee tied to the Florida Education Association, the state's largest teachers union. DeSantis endorsed her opponent, Aly Legge.

Congressional District 13: The race to be Crist's successor in the district that includes St. Pete and Clearwater has turned out to be one of the most expensive primaries in the state, Politico's Gary Fineout reports, with outside groups spending millions of dollars on ads.

  • Republican Anna Paulina Luna lost to Crist in 2020, but the redrawn seat is now friendlier to Republicans. Luna is endorsed by former President Trump, while her opponent Kevin Hayslett is endorsed by Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, along with several Pinellas County Republican officials.
  • Tonight's winner will face Eric Lynn, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, who's running unopposed by other Democrats.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more