Sarasota Analysis: GOP wins overall but Democrats win Absentee Ballot votes in Marquee Races

In my continuing series analyzing the Sarasota County November 2014 election results, I have focused on the Governor’s race and the School Board race.

One interesting trend, however, is not just who wins but who wins the portion of the votes cast via Absentee Ballot, Early Voting, and on Election Day.

Absentee ballots have largely been thought of to be a source of strength for the Republican candidates statewide, but the numbers in the November 2014 elections in Sarasota may show the opposite trend locally.  In all of the most hotly contested countywide races, the Democratic candidate won the absentee ballot vote.  In some of the other races, even where the Republican candidate won by a solid amount, the Democrat did much better and even won the absentee ballot vote in one case.  We won’t know the breakdown of how many Republicans, Democrats, and Independents actually voted until about 30 days after the election – for now we just know the vote totals.

Conversely, Republicans won the Early Vote in all of these races and won the Election Day vote by the most outsized margins.

In the Governor’s race, Charlie Crist actually received 27,265 Absentee votes to Scott’s 24,516.

Sarasota Gov Race Numbers

Sarasota Governor’s Race Breakdown, via Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Website, as of November 9, 2014

In the hotly contested School Board race between Ken Marsh (Democrat) and Bridget Ziegler (Republican), Marsh received 23,985 Absentee ballot votes to Ziegler’s 21,653 votes.

Marsh v. Ziegler Vote Breakdown

Marsh v. Ziegler Vote Breakdown

You can see this pattern in the less hotly contested countywide races.  In the Charter Review Board race, Republican Joe Justice won overall with 54% to Jennifer Cohen’s 46%.  But Cohen (24,759) received slightly more Absentee votes than Justice (24,210).

Justice v Cohen Vote Breakdown

Justice v Cohen Vote Breakdown

Even in the County Commission race between Republican Alan Maio and Democrat Ray Porter, where Maio won a decisive victory, Porter did much better in the Absentee portion of the vote than in the Early Votes or Election Day votes.

Maio v Porter vote Breakdown

Maio v Porter vote Breakdown

Election Recap: DeNapoli wins Absentee Votes, but Gonzalez Ruled Election Day to win

DeNapoli wins absentee ballot count, but Gonzalez ruled Election Day

By Jeremy Wallace, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It was a tale of two elections in the House District 74 election.

Venice doctor Julio Gonzalez defeated Richard DeNapoli on Tuesday night, winning 57 percent of the vote in the most hotly contested Republican Primary in the region.

But it wasn’t as one-sided as the results show.

Election results show DeNapoli beat Gonzalez in the absentee voting that started at the end of July. DeNapoli was winning 53.2 percent of the absentee ballots.

DeNapoli prided himself on getting out and going door to door months before Gonzalez went out in full force. DeNapoli’s aggressive early campaign with Gonzalez’s campaigns slow ramp up likely contributed to that results.

But Gonzalez erased most of the gap in early voting that started Aug. 16. When polls opened on Tuesday and after weeks of television ads and mailers, Gonzalez was up, but he and DeNapoli were separated by just 138 votes.

Then everything changed.

Gonzalez won nearly two out of every three Republican voters on Election Day. That 138 vote margin ballooned to almost 2,000.

Undoubtedly, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will get a lot of credit for Gonzalez rebound. Rubio cut a television commercial supporting Gonzalez that was airing non-stop in the closing days of the election to help drive turnout.

Election Results: DeNapoli wins Absentee Votes, but Gonzalez Wins Early and Election Day Votes to win the election

Election Results: DeNapoli wins Absentee Votes, but Gonzalez Wins Early and Election Day Votes to win the election

To read more, click here


From “House District 74: Julio Gonzalez

by Jeremy Wallace, Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 26th, 2014

…The two candidates [DeNapoli and Gonzalez] combined to spend more than $660,000 in their battle to win a two-year term that pays just over $30,000 a year. In addition, political groups poured in at least another $900,000, for a combined $1.5 million used primarily on attacking ads on TV, in mailers and on the Internet. …

Gonzalez benefitted from a strong endorsement from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Miami Republican, down the stretch. Rubio made television ads that blanketed Sarasota in an effort to help Gonzalez.

“I am forever indebted to him,” Gonzalez said.

DeNapoli, who called Gonzalez to concede and endorse him, said he had no regrets. He said he didn’t have the money to overcome the outside political committees that helped Gonzalez.

The Florida Medical Association alone spent more than $375,000 through a pair of political action committees to run ads against DeNapoli. …


From “Polls Show Sarasota County Divided

by Jeremy Wallace, Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 27th, 2014

…in the state House District 74 primary battle between Republicans Julio Gonzalez and Richard DeNapoli, voters in Venice and North Port took opposing approaches.

DeNapoli won in North Port with 51 percent of the vote. But Venice favored Gonzalez, with 64 percent of the vote.

Because turnout was much higher in Venice, Gonzalez won the seat, despite losing North Port, the county’s largest city.

…DeNapoli and [Shannon] Snyder [a County Commission candidate] showed that while North Port can break differently than other parts of the county, winning there is not yet enough to build a victorious campaign because of how much lower voter turnout is there compared to areas like Venice.

Though North Port has 59,000 residents, only about 5,800 voted Tuesday, even though it had two big City Commission races, three School Board races and a premier state House race on the ballot. In Venice, which has 21,000 residents, almost 3,800 voters turned out.

[Republican Party County Chairman Joe] Gruters said if North Port residents took advantage of their potential political power, they could dominate county politics.


From “Gonzalez Clinches House District 74 Seat”

By Steve Reilly, North Port Sun, August 27th, 2014

…Gonzalez said he was pleased DeNapoli had called to congratulate him.

“He was very cordial and gracious and he wished me a lot of success and I’m very grateful that he called and expressed his well wishes,” he said.

Broward GOP Absentee Ballot Chase – Last Chance






Voted absentee ballots must be received (not just postmarked) by the Supervisor of Election’s office no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6th.  It costs $1.50 to mail your ballot.  You must sign the Absentee ballot envelope where indicated or your vote will not be counted!  We suggest you mail your ballot immediately to make sure that your vote is counted!  

A VOTED BALLOT CANNOT BE ACCEPTED AT A POLLING PLACE ON ELECTION DAY OR AT AN EARLY VOTING SITE.  If you requested an absentee ballot and later decide to VOTE AT THE POLLS ON ELECTION DAY OR AT AN EARLY VOTING SITE (Early Voting Ends at Saturday, November 3rd at 7PM), take your absentee ballot with you to be “cancelled” at your polling place. After you “cancel” the absentee ballot, you can vote like everyone else at the poll or Early Voting Site.

Dear Broward Republicans,

We are in the final days of the campaign.  One of the best ways to increase Republican turnout is to contact Republican voters who have requested an absentee ballot but have not yet returned it.  A large amount of these absentee voters have a ballot in their possession but never actually vote their ballot.  It’s up to us to contact them to make sure they vote!  The Broward Republican Party has contacted these voters with robocalls, emails, and through the mail, but it’s far more likely that we will get these absentee voters to turn in their ballots when someone from their neighborhood contacts them via phone or in person by knocking on their door.
I have created a special website where you can get a spreadsheet of all the Republicans in Broward that have an absentee ballot but have not yet voted their absentee ballot.  It’s called
DO YOUR BEST TO GET THESE VOTERS TO MAIL IN THEIR BALLOT BY TOMORROW, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2nd in order to ensure that the ballot gets to the Supervisor of Elections on Time.
The link to the spreadsheet is about half way down the page.  It’s in precinct order by household. Click on the link and you can download the spreadsheet and search for your precinct.  It’s a large file so please be patient.  If you have any questions, or need some help working with Microsoft Excel, just give me a call at 954-298-9121.

Please help us turn out the vote!

Onward to Victory!

Richard DeNapoli, Chairman
Broward Republican Executive Committee



Broward Supervisor of Elections Office

115 S. Andrews Ave., Rm. 102, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301


Broward Supervisor of Elections Voting Equipment Center

1501 NW 40th Ave. (North State Rd. 7/441), Lauderhill, FL 33313

Republican Party Drop Off Sites:


Broward GOP Headquarters

150 S. Andrews Ave., Ste. 370

(also known as 150 SW 12th Ave. on certain maps)

Pompano Beach, FL 33069

Call 954-941-7775


Broward GOP Action Center Pembroke Pines

400 N. Hiatus Road, Ste. 200
Pembroke Pines, FL 33026

Call Rico at 954-931-0242


Broward GOP Action Center Hollywood

1004 Washington Street

Hollywood, FL 33019

Call Chad at 954-399-2732

If you want to check your voter status, or the status of your Absentee Ballot, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO CHECK YOUR VOTER STATUS OR THE STATUS OF YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT.

If you would like a copy of Broward State Committeeman Ed Kennedy’s Broward Conservative Voter Guide for recommendations, click HERE.*  You can take this into the voting booth.


*Any opinions expressed in the voter guide are the personal opinions of Ed Kennedy and are paid for and approved by Ed Kennedy, independent of any party committee or candidate.  This advertisement was not approved by any candidate.  The Broward Republican Executive Committee is forwarding this notice for informational purposes only as a courtesy to subscribers of our email list.  The views expressed in Ed Kennedy’s Voter Guide are not an endorsement by the Broward County Republican Executive Committee.
 Political advertisement paid for and approved by the Broward Republican Executive Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
Original Email Sent November 1, 2012