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Rep. Williams Wins House Dist. 8 Dem Primary, Even Gets Call From Charlie Crist

Sascha Cordner

Listen to the story! It includes sound of Williams and supporter Candace Gilbert!

Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) moved one step closer to taking the House District 8 seat, after defeating fellow Democrat Dianne Williams-Cox in the August primary election Tuesday. While his victory isn’t set, he still congratulated by a number of people, including another winner of the night:  Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist.

Surrounded by family, friends, and supporters, Williams celebrated his victory over Williams-Cox at the Double Tree hotel in Tallahassee.

While he took about 70 percent of the vote in the August primary, Williams-Cox got the remainder—thus losing the primary to the incumbent Williams.

In the race against Williams, Williams-Cox raised concerns surrounding whether Williams lived in his district. She also sparred with Williams over initially telling her to run because he wasn’t running for re-election. She adds she quit her job to run, and was later shocked when he threw his hat into the ring—still, Williams says there’s no hard feelings.

“You know, I want to thank Dianne. You know, she put up a very formidable challenge and as I’ve told folks all the time, this is not my seat. This seat belongs to the people. And, I’m just proud that the people have sent me back to the state Capitol, hopefully to work on their behalf. But, we still have to get through November,” said Williams.

Williams still has to face off against a write-in candidate in November, but that didn’t stop an outpour of Congratulations from many people, including his daughter, Adrianna. She remembered a similar night when he was first elected to the House seat in 2008, and she was nine-years-old.

“I’ve changed. I’ve grown up. Six years was a lot. I’ve matured, developed my own opinions on things, but the one decision and the one opinion that has always stayed the same for the past six years is the person that I think is the best for this job, and that is my dad,” she said to cheers from Williams' supporters.

And, during his victory speech, he pointed to his family as examples of those he represents in his district.

“And, I will tell you that I represent Leon and Gadsden County. But, when I go to work every day, and I look at my daughter and my son, I know I’m looking at your daughter and your son. When I think about state employees, I think about my mother who worked for 41 years in state government,” said Williams.

During his time in the Legislature, he fought for a number of state worker issues, including employee raises and keeping the state retirement system the same. That earned him Bob Henderson’s vote.

“I’m here supporting Alan Williams because he served well in the Legislature, and he deserves another two years in that position. He supported public employees, which the Republican Legislature has been working against for years,” said Henderson.

Credit Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM
Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) speaking to Charlie Crist on the phone. Crist called to congratulate him on his primary win.

And, Henderson wasn’t his only congratulations of the night. While in the middle of an interview with WFSU, he got a call from another winner of the night.

“Can you hold on one second? I’ve got [former] Governor [Charlie] Crist calling me right now,” said Williams. “Hey, Governor Crist, how are you doing?”

“Alan, I’m great man, and I know you are too. I just want to call and congratulate you on your great victory tonight. Way to go buddy,” replied Crist.

”Hey Governor, I appreciate it. I look forward to working with you in the upcoming election, and getting you back to Tallahassee,” said Williams.

Meanwhile, Williams-Cox, who lost the Democratic nomination, says while she respects the vote, she’s disappointed in the outcome.

“Unfortunately, the turnout was not what I had hoped it to be…the outcome was not what I had hoped it to be, but I still stand by the fact that District 8 deserves to be represented, and that I hope that the next two years, District 8 will get what they really deserve,” said Williams-Cox.

When asked if she'd support Williams in the race against write-in candidate James Sinclair in the November general election, she replied “no comment.”

Still, this may not be the end for Williams-Cox in her potential political career. If elected in November, this  would be Williams' final term.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.