State Rep. Holly Raschein will return to Tallahassee as a senior legislator. First elected in 2012, the Republican sought and won her fourth and final term.
“I’m absolutely full of gratitude for the voters in District 120. It was a wonderful victory and I’m grateful for my entire team,” Raschein said. “It was a challenging campaign. At the end of the day, I’m pleased with having run a positive campaign with great messaging. I’m very pleased with the outcome.”
Raschein defeated challenger Steve Friedman, a political newcomer and fishing guide of the Upper Keys, by 6 points district-wide, and by 13 points in Monroe County.
“At the end of the day, I’m pleased with having run a positive campaign with great messaging.”
— State Rep. Holly Raschein
Although the election is over, there’s no time for rest. The state legislature is expected to announce new committee chairs in Tallahassee. In 2018, Raschein served on six committees and subcommittees, most notably as chair of the Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee, and on the Appropriations Committee. The next session begins on Nov. 20 when new legislators are sworn in. Republicans held the majority in both the state House (all 120 representatives were up for re-lection this year) and state Senate (22 of the 40 seats were up for re-election).
“Term limits are a good thing, but there’s also a degree of brain drain,” Raschein said. “I’m looking forward to meeting the new people and seeing my old colleagues.”
Raschein said there’s much to do: North Florida is still recovering from a major hurricane, as are the Keys. “And it will be a big year for water quality issues. Also, healthcare is a big priority of my speaker.”
Although he did not win, Friedman called the election a victory of sorts. “I congratulated Holly on a well-run race,” he said in a video posted to his Facebook page. “Although we did not come out on top, we won. … There’s going to be a whole lot of fishing guides going up to Tallahassee a lot more now because our message got through. That’s why it’s a win for all of us.”
In 2012, Raschein defeated Ian Whitney by 5 points, in 2014 she was unopposed, and in 2016 she bested Dan Horton by 15 points. This is her final term.
In the most expensive congressional race — an estimated $18 million spent — U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) lost to Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) in District 26, which encompasses the Keys. Although Curbelo carried Monroe County with 53.9 percent of the vote, Mucarsel-Powell prevailed on the mainland, earning a district-wide percentage of 51 percent.
According to the Miami Herald, Mucarsel-Powell told her supporters during her victory speech that she would fight to protect and expand Obamacare, while also pushing for more humane immigration polices and climate change solutions. She pledged to hold the Trump administration “accountable.”