In Hillsborough, State House races go...not as planned for Dems

Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione will not be making her way to the Florida House of Representatives — not this year, anyway.

Heading into Election Night, many Democrats had a sunny disposition — one that continued as early returns came in. Things were looking good for Montelione in her quest to unseat her opponent, Republican incumbent Shawn Harrison, in the race for the State House District 63, which covers North Tampa, Carrollwood and the USF area.

Montelione and supporters watched the returns come in at a small party at Mr. Dunderbak's, a popular craft beer bar near University of South Florida. 

For much of the night, the margin was 51 to 49 percent — and not in her favor. And that's how it ended up.

Much of the focus was on Republican Donald Trump's prospects for winning the White House, which grew. Everyone was laughing and joking about Trump — at least at first.

"A Trump presidency gives people an excuse to say shitty things," someone said.

Then the vote was finally called, and Montelione addressed her supporters.  

"I'm going to go home and I'm going sleep for a couple of days," she concluded.

Further to the south, another Democrat saw even greater defeat.

David Singer, who faced Republican Jackie Toledo in the race for State House District 60, lost the race for that South Tampa seat by a margin of about 57 to 43 percent.

The conventional wisdom that presidential election years tend to be good to Democrats didn't seem to apply in 2016.

Meanwhile, in the four-county House District 70 seat — a "minority access" seat — Democrat Wengay Newton, a former St. Pete City Councilman, defeated Republican Cori Fournier, winning by 84-16 percent.

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