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Jason Shoaf Emerges As GOP Nominee To Replace Halsey Beshears In North Florida Seat

Voters cast their ballots (undated)
Sascha Cordner

Jason Shoaf and Randy Maggard could be halfway to the Florida House.

Shoaf, a Port St. Joe Republican, and Maggard, a Dade City Republican, easily won GOP special primary elections Tuesday as they seek to replace former Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, and former Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills.

With all precincts reporting as of 9 p.m., Shoaf had received nearly 49 percent of the vote in a four-candidate primary in sprawling House District 7 and was on his way to facing Tallahassee Democrat Ryan Terrell in a June 18 special general election, according to the state Division of Elections website.

Maggard, meanwhile, captured nearly 62 percent of the vote as he defeated David “Mac” McCallister in the GOP primary in Pasco County’s House District 38, the Division of Elections website said. Maggard will face Wesley Chapel Democrat Kelly Smith in the special general election.

The House seats became open after Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Beshears as secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and Burgess as executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

DeSantis also appointed former Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, as director of the state Division of Emergency Management. But Democrat Dan Daley was the only candidate to qualify to run for Moskowitz’s House District 97 seat in Broward County and will take office in June.

The largely rural House District 7 is made up of Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla and part of Leon counties. Shoaf faced Republicans Lynda Bell, Mike Watkins and Virginia Fuller in Tuesday’s primary.

Preliminary results showed Shoaf winning in all but Liberty and Leon counties, where Bell prevailed. Shoaf particularly pulled in big numbers in his home Gulf County, where he received nearly 72 percent of the vote, according to the Gulf County Supervisor of Elections website.