The elections are (mostly) behind us; certainly, the state and local races are. In this post, I will report on how Collier voters voted on the federal, state, and local races and the referenda on the ballot. I will also point out how the County’s outcomes compared to those of the state as a whole on federal and state ballot questions, which reveals our region’s more conservative leaning.
Voter participation in Collier County was 90.3 percent, a record in the state for the second presidential election in a row. That’s according to preliminary results from the Supervisor of Elections; official results won’t be available until Friday.
- Collier County turnout over 90%, new record and highest in Florida; Lee highest since 2008. Naples Daily News
Voter enthusiasm was high across all party affiliations but did vary by party, with the highest turnout among registered Republicans.
|Party||% Turnout||% Registered Voters|
Unfortunately, 421 provisional ballots and 169 Vote-By-Mail ballots were rejected in Collier County, according to the Collier Supervisor of Elections Office. Reasons provisional ballots were rejected include Registered After Book Closing Deadline (147), Not a Registered Voter (138), and Not a Registered Voter – Ineligible (121). Reasons Vote-By-Mail ballots were rejected include Signature Different (84), No Signature (45), and Moved Out of County (16). The number of rejected ballots was not enough to change any of the results.
Statewide voter turnout was 77 percent, the highest since Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush’s effort to win a second term in 1992.
- Florida voters’ turnout highest in 28 years. News4Jax.com, 11/4/20
By all accounts, the election process went smoothly both in Collier County and statewide.
- No longer a ‘Flori-duh’ laughingstock: How Florida’s vote came in so fast. Sun Sentinel, 11/5/20
No Surprises in the Partisan Races
Collier County has long been dominated by the Republican Party, and the results in these elections were no exception.
The Presidential Race
In the presidential race, Donald Trump received 62 percent of the Collier County vote; Democrat Joe Biden received 38 percent.
The split was slightly less Republican than the 65/35 Republican/Democrat split that typically characterizes Collier County election results.
Statewide, Trump won with 51 percent of the vote to Biden’s 48 percent. Florida had long been considered a “swing state,” but now, while still not as conservative as Collier County:
- ‘This is Trump country’: Florida is a swing state no more. Politico Florida, 11/4/20
The Congressional Race
Collier voters live in one of two Congressional districts: 19 or 25. Find your representative here.
District 25 incumbent Mario Diaz-Balart was unchallenged for reelection and will automatically serve another term. District 19 incumbent Francis Rooney chose not to run for reelection, leaving an open seat.
In line with the usual Collier vote split, Republican Byron Donalds won the District 19 race with 65 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Cindy Banyai. For the backstory, see my post On the Ballot: Congressional District 19.
Donalds will be Florida’s third-ever Black Republican to serve in the U.S. House. He ran on a pro-Trump, small-government, conservative platform, and promises that his top priority for our area will be water quality.
- ‘Blessed and highly favored’ Byron Donalds wins election for U.S. Congressional District 19, pledges water quality No. 1 priority. Naples Daily News via The News-Press, 11/5/20
Donalds will also be the only Black House Republican, taking the place in that category now held by frequent Trump critic Will Hurd, who did not run for reelection.
The State House Races
Collier voters live in one of three Florida House districts: 80, 105 or 106. Find your state representative here.
For the District 80 seat currently held by Byron Donalds, Republican Lauren Melo defeated Democrat Laura Novosad. Melo received 65 percent of the Collier vote and 64 percent of the District-wide vote. She ran as “a conservative Republican who supports our President and will fight to protect our second amendment rights, honor our veterans, cut bureaucratic red tape, and grow the economy.” See my post On the ballot: Florida House District 80.
For the District 105 seat currently held by Ana Maria Rodriguez, Republican David Borrero defeated Democrat Maureen Porras. He received 57 percent of the Collier vote and 54 percent of the District-wide vote. Borrero, now serving as a City of Sweetwater Commissioner, also ran as a “conservative Republican.” See On the Ballot: Florida House District 105.
For the District 106 seat, incumbent Republican Bob Rommel won 66 percent of the vote, and will serve a third term. All of District 106 falls within Collier County. Rommel defeated Democrat Sara McFadden for the second election in a row, receiving roughly the same percent of the vote as last time. His campaign slogan was “Conservative, Compassionate and Committed to You.” See On the Ballot: Florida House District 106.
The Collier Board of County Commissioners Races
Collier voters live in one of five County Commission districts. Find your district here. Districts 1, 3, and 5 were up for election this year, but District 3 incumbent Burt Saunders was unchallenged for another term. The District 1 and 5 seats were on the ballot.
As with Collier County’s congressional and state representation, the Board of County Commissioners will remain a wholly-Republican body, albeit with one new member. Another member will return for a second term.
Rick LoCastro soundly defeated Democrat John “JJ” Jenkins for the District 1 seat now held by Donna Fiala, who is retiring. LoCastro received 69 percent of the votes, running on a platform of “Experienced. Veteran. Leadership.” See On the Ballot: Collier Commission District 1.
Bill McDaniel won reelection with 59 percent of the votes in the three-way race for the District 5 seat. Democrat David Turrubiartez, Jr. took 35 percent of the votes. Raymond Christopher, a Republican who ran with no party affiliation, received the remainder of the votes, which would likely otherwise have gone to McDaniel. See On the ballot: Collier Commission District 5.
- Rick LoCastro, Bill McDaniel win Collier County Commission seats. Naples Daily News, 11/4/20
The Nonpartisan Races
Collier Mosquito Control District
In a nonpartisan election for an office that most people aren’t familiar with, and with two unknown candidates running for an open seat, advertising to achieve name recognition seems to have made the difference.
Bruce Buchanan, a Naples Airport volunteer, won 72 percent of the vote, having spent $2,370 on social media and radio advertising. Opponent Eugene Ungarean did no advertising and spent just $42 for bank fees. See On the Ballot: Collier Mosquito Control District.
Greater Naples Fire Rescue District
Residents in unincorporated Collier County live in one of five separately-managed fire districts, as I explained in Fire and Emergency Medical Services in Collier County. Only residents in the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District had a race on the November ballot.
Retired firefighters Al Duffy and Dominick Biondo handily defeated incumbents Jeffrey Page and Tom Henning, winning 55 percent and 68 percent of the votes, respectively. See On the Ballot: Greater Naples Fire — East Naples Division (Duffy vs. Page) and On the Ballot: Greater Naples Fire — Golden Gate Division (Biondo vs. Henning).
The incumbents spent a combined $22 thousand on advertising for their campaigns. The challengers reported no spending, but the local North Collier Professional Firefighters & Paramedics union conducted a strong email and social media campaign on their behalf. The value of the union’s in-kind contributions had not been reported on the Supervisor of Elections website as of the date of this post.
Marco Island City Council
Voters living in the City of Marco Island faced a five-way election to fill four seats on the City Council. The top-four vote-getters were Jared Grifoni, returning for a second term, and newcomers Richard Blonna, Becky Irwin, and Joseph Rola. Also running was Phares Heindl.
For information about the candidates, see On the Ballot: Marco Island City Council.
Conservation Collier Referendum
The Conservation Collier land acquisition program won a decisive victory, receiving 76 percent of the vote. The quarter-mill tax is estimated to raise between $250 and $300 million over the next 10 years. See On the Ballot: Conservation Collier.
- Conservation Collier gears up for renewed land purchases after overwhelming vote. Naples Daily News, 11/5/20
Interestingly, more people voted for the new tax (76 percent) than voted for Donald Trump (62 percent).
Amendments to the Florida Constitution
Voters faced six proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot. See On the Ballot: Constitutional Amendments.
Amending the Florida Constitution requires approval by 60 percent of the voters statewide, and four of them passed. The percent approval for each amendment by Collier voters and by Florida voters is shown in the table below.