2006 United States House of Representatives elections in Florida
The 2006 Florida U.S. House elections took place on November 7, 2006. Elections were held in Florida's 1st through 25th congressional districts.
Florida is known to be a moderate-to-conservative state, with more liberals residing in South Florida, and moderates and conservatives dominating both the northern and central regions of Florida, as well as a strong Republican base in Cuban-American portions of Miami. A former Florida Secretary of State made famous in the 2000 presidential election challenged incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, and ended up losing to Nelson. Democrats set their sights on two districts in the Sarasota and Tampa area (the open seats of both Harris and the retiring Mike Bilirakis, respectively), and also on a South Florida district held by one of the Sunshine State's longest-serving congressmen. The primary was held on September 5, 2006. The popularity of outgoing Governor Jeb Bush aided their gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Charlie Crist and helped Republicans win downballot, including Crist's newly elected successor at the Attorney General position, former Rep. Bill McCollum.
The following Congressmen went unopposed in the 2006 election and thus their election is not reported below:
- Allen Boyd (D-FL-02)
- Corrine Brown (D-FL-03)
- Robert Wexler (D-FL-19)
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-20)
- Alcee Hastings (D-FL-23)
|United States House of Representatives elections in Florida, 2006|
Three-term incumbent Republican Congressman Jeff Miller had an easy time seeking re-election in this staunchly conservative district based in the Florida Panhandle. Miller, who was initially elected in a special election in 2001 to replace Joe Scarborough, took advantage of this district’s large military population based around the Naval Air Station Pensacola with his membership on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the naturally conservative tendencies of western Florida to easily defeat Democratic challenger Joe Roberts.
|Republican||Jeff Miller (inc.)||135,786||68.54|
Incumbent Republican Congressman Ander Crenshaw, a fixture in Florida politics since the 1970s, has represented this North Florida and Jacksonville-based district since 2001. Given the district’s strong Republican lean, Crenshaw faced no real challenge in Democratic nominee Robert Harms and easily won another term.
|Republican||Ander Crenshaw (inc.)||141,759||69.67|
|Democratic||Robert J. Harms||61,704||30.32|
Incumbent Republican Congressman Ginny Brown-Waite was able to take advantage of a Republican wave and a gerrymander in her favor to defeat Democratic Congresswoman Karen Thurman to win a first term in 2002. Seeking a third term, Brown-Waite faced challenger John Russell, whom he handily beat, albeit by a thinner margin than she is used to in this fairly conservative district.
|Republican||Ginny Brown-Waite (inc.)||162,421||59.85|
Encompassing North Central Florida, this conservative district is represented by nine-term incumbent Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns. Stearns, seeking a tenth term, faced off against Democratic candidate David Bruderly. Though Stearns defeated Bruderly by a wide margin, it was not the margin of victory that Stearns is used to in this gerrymandered district.
|Republican||Cliff Stearns (inc.)||136,601||59.88|
|Democratic||David E. Bruderly||91,528||40.12|
Incumbent Republican Congressman John Mica, initially elected in 1992, sought his eighth term in this conservative district that stretches along the coast of Florida from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach and peeks into the Orlando Metropolitan Area. Mica defeated Democratic candidate John Chagnon in a landslide.
|Republican||John Mica (inc.)||149,656||63.08|
|Democratic||John F. Chagnon||87,584||36.92|
Republican Congressman Ric Keller, seeking a fourth term in this moderately conservative, Central Florida-based district, faced off against businessman Charlie Stuart, a moderate Democrat. Though Keller held onto his seat in the midst of a Democratic wave that was sweeping the country, he won by only a few points.
|Republican||Ric Keller (inc.)||95,258||52.79|
After serving twelve terms in the United States Congress, Republican incumbent Congressman Michael Bilirakis declined to run for re-election. His son, Gus Bilirakis, a member of the Florida House of Representatives emerged as the Republican nominee and squared off against Phyllis Busansky, the Democratic nominee and a former Hillsborough County Commissioner. The district has a tilt towards electing Republicans, so Busansky’s campaign was not given much of a chance at first. As the campaign progressed, however, it received national attention from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Though Bilirakis defeated Busansky by a ten point margin, Busansky’s performance was a large improvement over past years and outperformed her expected performance in the polls.
In this district, which is the only congressional district in the state to lie exclusively in one county, has been represented by incumbent Republican Congressman Bill Young for several decades. A former Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Young has been overwhelmingly re-elected year after year. In 2006, despite the moderate nature of his district and the acidic environment for Republicans nationwide, Congressman Young swamped Democratic nominee Samm Simpson.
|Republican||Bill Young (inc.)||131,488||65.93|
Rather than seek a sixth term in this liberal district based in Tampa, incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim Davis opted to run for Governor, creating an open seat. Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor, the daughter of renowned Florida politician Betty Castor, ran for the seat and won the Democratic nomination, defeating Florida State Senate Minority Leader Les Miller. She faced Republican candidate Eddie Adams, an architect, in the general election, which she won by a convincing margin.
|Republican||Eddie Adams, Jr.||42,454||30.34|
Incumbent Republican Congressman Adam Putnam, a member of the Republican leadership in the House, sought and easily won a fourth term in Congress, defeating independent candidates Joe Viscusi and Ed Bowlin.
|Republican||Adam Putnam (inc.)||124,452||69.12|
Two-term incumbent Republican Congresswoman Katherine Harris opted to run for Senate rather than seek a third term, creating an open seat. The 13th district, based in Southwest Florida, is fairly conservative, but a competitive race emerged between the Republican nominee, car dealership owner Vern Buchanan, and the Democratic nominee, banking executive Christine Jennings. Though Buchanan appeared to be victorious on election day by a 350 vote margin, Jennings requested a recount. Though the recount did not change the outcome of the race, Jennings filed additional complaints due to the fact that 13% of Sarasota County residents did not vote in the Congressional election, an unusually high number and the fact that the touch-screen machines did not provide a paper trail.
Believing the matter to be unsettled, Jennings sued to challenge the results of the election in court, noting the "pervasive malfunctioning of electronic voting machines." A Florida circuit judge rejected her lawsuit in December 2006, ruling that her allegations of lost votes in Sarasota County were "conjecture." Jennings met further failure in June 2007, when a Florida state appellate court ruled that Jennings did not meet the "extraordinary burden" of proving the lower court judge was wrong.
Though Jennings fought the results further by appealing directly to the United States House of Representatives, this action, too, caused her to walk away empty-handed. After a three-person House task force was created to evaluate the election, the task force voted along party lines to refer an investigation into Florida’s 13th district House race to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
In February 2008, the committee and the House accepted the findings of the GAO that no machine error affected the outcome of the election, going a step further to pass HR 989, which affirmed the findings of the committee, accepted the results of the 2006 race and formally dismissed Jennings' challenge of the election's results. Jennings formally dropped her challenge shortly thereafter to focus on her 2008 rematch against Buchanan.
After winning his first Congressional election in 2004 to replace Porter Goss, incumbent Republican Congressman Connie Mack IV sought a second term in 2006. Mack's district, based in the Gulf Coast region of Florida, is solidly conservative and overwhelmingly gave the Congressman a second term over Democratic candidate Robert Neeld.
|Republican||Connie Mack IV (inc.)||151,615||64.37|
|Democratic||Robert M. Neeld||83,920||35.63|
In this Space Coast-based district, incumbent Republican Congressman Dave Weldon sought election to a seventh term in Congress. This district, though undoubtedly conservative, gave Weldon a smaller margin of victory over Democratic nominee Robert Bowman in 2006 than in previous years, likely due to the anti-Republican sentiment nationwide.
|Republican||Dave Weldon (inc.)||125,965||56.29|
Incumbent Republican Congressman Mark Foley was considered to be a shoo-in for re-election until the House page scandal involving Foley became public knowledge. The Congressman resigned on September 29, 2006, thus cancelling his re-election bid. The Republican Party of Florida selected Florida State Representative Joe Negron to replace Foley, though Foley's name remained on the ballot. Though Negron launched a successful campaign to urge voters to "Punch Foley for Joe!", indicating that voters should "punch" Foley's name on the ballot to vote for Negron, he was ultimately unsuccessful on election day and fell to Democratic nominee and businessman Tim Mahoney.
|Independent||Emmie Lee Ross||6,526||2.79|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
This majority African-American district based in southern Broward County and eastern Miami-Dade County has a very strong Democratic tilt and has been represented by Congressman Kendrick Meek since his initial election in 2002 and was previously represented by Meek's mother, Carrie Meek, for ten years. Meek was overwhelmingly elected to a third term with no Republican or independent challenger.
|Democratic||Kendrick Meek (inc.)||90,663||99.97|
Incumbent Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a respected member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, represents a marginally conservative district that encompasses much of Miami, the southern suburbs of Miami, and the entire Florida Keys. Seeking a tenth term in Congress, Ros-Lehtinen easily defeated Democratic nominee Dave Patlak in the general election.
|Republican||Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (inc.)||79,631||62.15|
Incumbent Republican Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart decided to run for an eighth term in Congress in this district composed of the western suburbs of Miami. Conservative due to the large presence of Cuban-Americans here, this district is a Hispanic-American majority district and has regularly sent Congressman Diaz-Balart back to Washington with solid victories. 2006 proved to be no different, and Diaz-Balart defeated Frank Gonzalez, though by a thinner margin than is usually achieved in this district.
|Republican||Lincoln Diaz-Balart (inc.)||66,784||59.47|
This district, which stretches from northern Broward County to northern Palm Beach County, marginally leads towards the Democratic side, but incumbent Republican Congressman Clay Shaw's pragmatic and moderate profile in Congress enabled him to continually be re-elected. This year, however, Shaw faced difficulty in his bid for a fourteenth term. Florida State Senator Ron Klein, previously the Democratic leader in the Senate, ultimately defeated Shaw in the general election by a thin three-point margin.
|Republican||Clay Shaw (inc.)||100,663||47.13|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
Incumbent Republican Congressman Tom Feeney, initially elected in 2002 and re-elected unopposed in 2004 in this hand-crafted, gerrymandered district, hardly faced a challenge from Democratic candidate Clint Curtis. Feeney, however, was marred by allegations of corruption brought about by Curtis, a computer programmer who claimed that Feeney asked Curtis to create a software to "steal" votes using touch-screen voting machines. Feeney treated Curtis like a gadfly, sending out mailers featuring Curtis with a tin-foil hat and refusing to debate him. Polling, however, indicated that the race was tight, with a Zogby poll showing Feeney at a 45% level of support and Curtis attaining 43%. Ultimately, though, on election day, Feeney swamped Curtis, winning all four counties in the district. The surprisingly close race, however, indicated that Feeney could be brought down with a serious challenger.
|Republican||Tom Feeney (inc.)||123,795||57.94|
This district, with a Hispanic-American majority and based in South Florida, has the tendency to support Republican candidates. Incumbent Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart has represented the district since its creation in 2003 and had not faced a close call so far in his career. In 2006, however, though Diaz-Balart defeated Democratic opponent Michael Calderin by a solid margin, it was a thinner margin than usual.
|Republican||Mario Diaz-Balart (inc.)||60,765||58.47|
- "Another election mess in Florida", The Economist, December 9, 2006
- "Jennings Dealt Setback In Voting Machine Challenge" Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, CBS local news (cbs4.com), June 18, 2007
- Phil Davis, "House Panel to Consider Florida Contest", Associated Press, April 17, 2007
- Aaron Blake, "FL-13 task force will turn over investigation to GAO", The Hill, May 3, 2007
- Lesley Clark (2008-02-26). "US House dismisses challenge to Jennings' claim to seat".
- "Three More Former Pages Accuse Foley of Online Sexual Approaches". ABC News. October 5, 2006. Archived from the original on October 11, 2006. Retrieved October 5, 2006.
- "Florida's 16th District: Tim Mahoney (D)". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2006-09-28.
- "November 7, 2006 Washington Monthly Election Day Blog". Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2006.