1200 Weimer Hall | P.O. Box 118405
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-5551

A service of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida.

© 2024 WUFT / Division of Media Properties
News and Public Media for North Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

See Coverage Of Florida's 2018 Primary Election Results

Freshly elected school board member Tina Certain hugs new board colleague Leanetta McNealy after Certain's victory on Tuesday night. (Lisa Blanket/WUFT News)
Freshly elected school board member Tina Certain hugs new board colleague Leanetta McNealy after Certain's victory on Tuesday night. (Lisa Blanket/WUFT News)

For coverage of the Nov. 6 general election results, click here.

See our complete coverage below or use this index to jump to recaps of the races you care most about. Winners and runoff candidates are bolded.

GovernorCongress (Districts 2 and 3)State Senate (District 8)State House (Districts 10 and 21)
Alachua County Commission (District 2)Alachua County School BoardJudicial racesOther county-level races


On the Republican side, Ron DeSantis handily defeated Adam Putnam, with the Associated Press calling the race shortly after 8 p.m. DeSantis made a surprising push with the help of President Donald Trump, while Putnam's campaign flagged during the summer months.

Democrat Andrew Gillum could make history as the state's first African American governor, as he captured his party's nomination over Gwen Graham at around 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday.


The AP called the race for Republican incumbent Ted Yoho shortly after 8 p.m., as he successfully fought off a primary challenge in District 3 from Judson Sapp. About a half hour later, Yvonne Hayes Hinson became the unofficial Democratic nominee over Dushyant Gosai and Tom Wells.


In District 2, which spans much of the eastern Panhandle, Democrat Bob Rackleff held a 51 to 49 percent lead of just more than 800 votes over Brandon Peters. Rackleff hopes to unseat Republican incumbent Neal Dunn in November, who won unopposed on Tuesday.

State Senate

Keith Perry has held the District 8 seat since 2016, and he'll need to defeat Democrat Kayser Enneking in November; she claimed nearly 60 percent of the vote over Olysha Magruder. Former Gainesville city commissioner Charles Goston is also running and did not have to face a primary since he's running without a party affiliation.


"This is just such an incredible feeling," Enneking said. "I, in part, did this because I wanted to show that anyone can run. Anyone can be a part of our system."

State House

Registered Democratic voters in District 21 selected Jason Haeseler over Amol Jethwani to go up against Republican incumbent Chuck Clemons in the general election.

Republicans in District 10 (Lake City area) chose Chuck Brannan over Marc Vann. Brannan in November will take on a crowded field of Merrillee Jipson and Fred Martin (no party affiliation), along with Democrat Ronald Williams II.

Alachua County Commission

Only District 2 featured a contested primary, with Democrat Marihelen Wheeler topping Randy Wells, 60 to 40 percent. Wheeler will face Gregory Caudill (Libertarian), Scott Costello (no party affiliation) and Ward Scott (write-in) in November.

A text from Wells to Wheeler congratulating her on the win cemented her advancement. Wheeler's campaign has centered around the environment and helping job growth among young people. She hopes that a woman entering the county commission would bring a fresh perspective to the board.

"We want to make sure that the women have a chance to come in and share their solutions to some of the problems we're facing now," Wheeler said, "particularly with Gainesville and Alachua County talking about inequities."

Without any opponents, District 4 incumbent Ken Cornell won automatic reelection.

Alachua County had a voter turnout of 28.61 percent.

Alachua County School Board

Incumbents April Griffin (District 1), Gunnar Paulson (District 3) and Rob Hyatt (District 5) each worked to fend off challengers.

Among the incumbents, only Hyatt was successful outright. He defeated 18-year-old Paul Wolfe.

"Public schools are fundamental to our society, to our quality of life, to the economy," Hyatt said.

Paulson heads to a runoff in November as he (45 percent) and April Tisher (32 percent) fell below the 50-percent mark. Judy McNeil won 23 percent.

Tina Certain beat Griffin with 52 to 48 percent of the vote.

Certain thinks her community outreach led to her success in the race.

“I like to say that I contacted more people and they believed in our message and they believed in our message and voted,” she said.

Certain, a former senior accountant for the City of Gainesville, believes her background in managing budgets will be a key asset to the school board. Her first priority: the half-cent sales tax increase voters will be deciding on in November. If the tax increase passes, that money would go toward school upkeep and repair, as well as the potential for more security spending.

“Should that tax pass, we want to get input from the community and ensure those funds are spent equitability across the county,” she said.

Certain’s nomination makes it the first time in history that two black women will serve concurrently on the Alachua County School Board. Leanetta McNealy is currently serving her second term on the school board and is the only black woman on the board.

“I think it’s kind of sad that we are still making firsts in 2018,” Certain said. “But running for an election is hard and it took a lot for me to do this.”

McNealy attended Certain’s election night watch party on Tuesday.

McNealy, a strong supporter of Certain, is hoping to work with her new colleague to decrease the equity gap in Alachua County.

“We have much work to do for all of our children,” McNealy said. “Now, with Mrs. Certain being on the board, we will work to ensure that our children will be getting everything we can offer.”

Alachua County Judge and Circuit 8 Judge

County judicial candidates Craig DeThomasis, Meshon Rawls, Jon Uman and Darla Whistler combined to spend nearly $200,000 in their campaigns to win a county judge spot.

Rawls (36 percent) and DeThomasis (27 percent) will appear on the November ballot to decide that seat's runoff.

The term is for six years, and — like the school board races — one of them needed to claim at least 50 percent on Tuesday night to avoid a runoff in November.

The Circuit 8 Group 8 justice position will also head to a runoff between Gloria Walker (48 percent) and David Robertson (37 percent), as neither of them earned 50 percent of the vote. Julie Waldman claimed 15 percent to finish in third.

Other county races

Across north central Florida, a few other races stick out due to the amount of money multiple candidates raised.

In Marion County, county commission chairwoman Kathy Bryant had to raise and spend six-figure dollar totals to fight off Republican challenger Michael Crimi in the District 2 seat. District 4 commissioner Carl Zalak fought and won a similar battle against Eddie Leedy in the party primary.

Marion County voters also overwhelmingly passed one mill ad valorem tax for schools by a margin of 73 to 27 percent.

Hernando County commission candidates Wayne Dukes, Charles Greenwell, and Beth Narverud combined to spend more than $100,000 in the District 2 race. Dukes and Narverud will face off in November after each candidate garnered roughly one-third of the total vote.

Citrus County incumbents Ron Kitchen (District 2) and Scott Carnahan (District 4) each faced expensive insurgencies from Republican challengers Ruthie Schlabach and Scott Adams, respectively. Carnahan earned a victory with 52 percent of the vote, but Kitchen and Schlabach will head to a runoff in November.

Grace King, Sofia Millar, Dolores Hinckley and Alyssa Bethencourt reported from Orlando. In Alachua County, reporters Tessa Bentulan, Lisa Blanket, Nicole Chang, Henry Coburn, Olivia Granaiola, Skyler Lebron, Quan Nguyen, Camille Respess, Marie Roberts, Rachel Rhodes, Matthew Serna, Mary Grace Scully, Heaven Taylor-Wynn, and Veronika Vernachio contributed.

Read more of WUFT's coverage of campaign 2018.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org