TALLAHASSEE (AP) -- Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson easily won his primary challenge Tuesday, advancing his bid for a third term in the U.S. Senate to the Nov. 6 general election where he'll face conservative Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV.
Nelson routed political unknown Glenn Burkett in the Democratic primary while Mack coasted to victory over former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon and retired Army Reserve Col. Mike McCalister in the GOP contest.
Nelson received 79 percent to 21 percent for Burkett, a Naples businessman, with more than three-fifths of the precincts counted while Mack, who was heavily favored in the GOP contest, received 58.5 percent. His father, Connie Mack III, is a former U.S. senator and his great-grandfather was a Hall of Fame baseball manager.
Nelson, who turns 70 next month, was elected in 2000 to the seat previously held by Mack's father, who retired after two terms.
In the race to replace Mack in southwest Florida, radio talk show host Trey Radel led a field of six candidates that included two sitting state lawmakers and Chauncey Goss, son of former U.S. Rep. and CIA director Porter Goss. With 87 percent of the precincts reported, Radel had received a third of the vote.
Longtime U.S. Rep. John Mica defeated first-term U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams for the GOP nomination in the newly drawn 7th Congressional district that runs northeast from Orlando. It was the only Florida congressional race where incumbents were matched. With 84 percent of the precincts counted, Mica had received 61 percent.
U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns was in a fight for his political life, trailing tea party favorite Ted Yoho in a four-way race. With 90 percent of the precincts reported, Yoho had 35.1 percent of the vote and led by more than 1,500 votes.
Voters also weighed in Tuesday on candidates in 70 of Florida's 160 legislative seats.
Former state Senate President Tom Lee made a successful bid to get back to that chamber, defeating state Rep. Rachel Burgin following a nasty campaign battle between the two Republicans in a district encompassing the Tampa suburbs. Lee, the GOP's unsuccessful candidate for chief financial officer in 2006, received nearly 60 percent of the vote with 85 percent of it counted.
Another former lawmaker forced out by Florida's "eight is enough" term limits law, former Rep. Aaron Bean, defeated Rep. Mike Weinstein for a Jacksonville area seat in the state Senate.
The only major glitch reported Tuesday evening was in Pinellas County. Results there were delayed a few hours after a phone bank server crashed. That's the digital device that usually sends results almost instantly after the precincts close.
Without that system in place, more than 234 memory cards had to be driven to election headquarters in Largo and uploaded in to the system. This would have all been done as a fail safe anyway, but it slowed down the results by a few hours.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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