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Politics / Issues

Democrat Amanda Murphy Wins Pasco County House Seat

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Democrat Amanda Murphy has won the special election for a Pasco County Florida House seat.

According to unofficial results, Murphy - a financial adviser with Raymond James - took nearly 51 percent of the vote in Tuesday's race. Republican Bill Gunter - a pastor at a New Port Richey church - took 49 percent.

The Pasco County elections office reports that 18,842 people voted in the race, which was just short of 20 percent turnout.

A special election for House District 36 was required after Gov. Rick Scott appointed Mike Fasano to be Pasco County Tax Collector in August. Fasano - a Republican - recently broke party ranks to endorse Murphy for his former seat.

USF political science professor Susan MacManus says that's not totally unexpected.

"That's not unusual in Florida, " said MacManus. "After all, Charlie Crist was once a Republican, and Mike Fasano is a friend of Charlie Crist,their more moderate than some of the conservatives in their party, and it's a trend that we are seeing nationally, not just in Florida."

The race attracted attention and lots of spending by both parties.

Murphy, 43, is a financial adviser for Raymond James making her first run for office.

Gunter, 43, is a Presbyterian minister who had the backing of Republican heavyweights like House Speaker Will Weatherford, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco and Superintendent of Schools Kurt Browning.

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