The Latest: Patronis elected chief financial officer

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Latest on Election Day in Florida (all times local):

11:25 p.m.

Republican Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will keep his job in Florida's Cabinet.

Patronis defeated former Democratic Sen. Jeremy Ring in Tuesday's election.

He was appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott to fill the remainder of Republican Jeff Atwater's term.

Atwater took a job at Florida Atlantic University.

The 46-year-old Patronis served eight years in the Florida Legislature before Scott appointed him to the state board that regulates utilities. His family owns a popular restaurant in Panama City Beach.

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11:10 p.m.

Democrat Andrew Gillum has conceded Florida governor's race to Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis. The Associated Press has not called the race.

The Tallahassee mayor had sought to energize his party's voters as an unabashed liberal.

DeSantis had hoped to ride President Donald Trump's backing to victory.

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11 p.m.

Florida voters have approved a sweeping measure broadening the rights of crime victims and increasing the mandatory retirement age for judges.

Voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 6. The measure gives victims and their families a right to due process, speedy proceedings and to have their welfare considered when a suspect's bail is set. It also increases the mandatory retirement age for judges to 75 instead of 70.

Supporters said the measure gives crime victims equal rights with the accused.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other opponents said the measure was not needed, that victims already had equal rights with defendants in Florida. They said the measure will interfere with a defendant's right to a fair trial.

The measure was placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a panel chosen by the governor, legislative leaders and the Supreme Court chief justice. The commission meets every 20 years.

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11 p.m.

Florida voters have rejected a measure that would have lowered their home property taxes.

Voters on Tuesday rejected Amendment 1, which would have exempted homestead properties from paying non-school taxes on the portion of their homes valued at between $100,000 and $125,000. Most homeowners would have saved a few hundred dollars.

Many local governments had opposed the measure. The state estimates it would have cost those governments about $645 million next year.

The measure was placed on the ballot by the Legislature.

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10:45 p.m.

Florida voters have approved a measure adding two new state agencies, setting the Legislature's start date in even years and requiring counties to have and elect certain offices. Voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 10, which requires the state to create an Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism and maintain a Department of Veterans Affairs, which already exists.

It also requires that in even-numbered years, the Legislature begin its annual session in January instead of March because of election season. Finally, it requires counties have an elected sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, elections supervisor and circuit court clerk.

Supporters said the measure was needed because not all counties vote for all offices. They said it also protects veterans and residents.

Opponents argued that each constitutional amendment should only cover one issue.

The measure was placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a panel chosen by the governor, legislative leaders and the Supreme Court chief justice. The commission meets every 20 years.

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10:20 p.m.

Florida voters have approved a mashup measure that requires death benefits for the survivors of first responders and active-duty soldiers and makes it harder to raise university fees.

Voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 7, one of four measures pulling together unrelated items. The amendment requires government agencies to pay a death benefit of up to $150,000 to the spouses of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, prison guards and other first responders killed in the line of duty. The state also will be required to pay a death benefit to the families of Florida residents killed while serving in the U.S. military. In both cases, surviving children will receive college tuition.

The measure also dictates that university fees other than tuition cannot be increased without super-majority votes from both the schools' board of trustees and the state's board of governors.

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9:50 p.m.

Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has ousted GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo from a House seat in Florida, switching it to the Democratic column.

Voters chose Mucarsel-Powell on Tuesday in the 26th District, which runs from south of Miami to Key West. Curbelo has represented the district since 2014. It has been trending more Democratic.

Mucarsel-Powell is originally from Ecuador. She sought to tie Curbelo closely to policies of President Donald Trump seen as unpopular in the district. She also stressed addressing gun violence with ads about her father's shooting death.

Mucarsel-Powell has worked for a number of nonprofit organizations in the Miami area and previously ran unsuccessfully for the Florida Senate.

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9:45 p.m.

Republican Ashley Moody will be Florida's next attorney general.

Moody defeated Democratic state Sen. Sean Shaw in Tuesday's election. Moody is a former judge and federal prosecutor from the Tampa area.

During the campaign she pointed out that Shaw had never prosecuted a case and that his first shouldn't be as attorney general. Moody is a fifth-generation Floridian. She will take over the position held by Republican Pam Bondi, who was barred from seeking re-election because of term limits.

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9:45 p.m.

Florida voters have frozen the size of tax assessment increases on commercial, rental and other properties that don't have a homestead exemption.

Voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 2, which makes permanent an existing 10 percent annual cap on increases to the assessed value of properties that are not homesteaded. The cap does not apply to school taxes.

The amendment had strong backing from the Florida Association of Realtors.

The measure was placed on the ballot by the Legislature.

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9:30 p.m.

Republican Ross Spano has won an open House seat in Florida, keeping it in the GOP column.

Spano defeated Democrat Kristen Carlson in the 15th District, which includes Lakeland and some of Tampa's eastern suburbs. The seat opened up when Republican incumbent Dennis Ross decided to retire.

Spano has served in the Florida House since 2012 and campaigned as a common-sense conservative who would push to make recent tax cuts permanent.

Carlson is an attorney who has worked as a prosecutor and also as general counsel to the Florida Department of Citrus. Carlson said she wanted to work toward greater compromise in Congress.

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9:10 p.m.

Most Florida felons who have finished their sentences will be able to vote again in future elections.

Voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 4, which says that most felons will automatically have their voting rights restored when they complete their sentences or go on probation. The amendment exempts those convicted of sex offenses and murder.

Supporters said the state's current system was too onerous. It required felons to wait at least five years after completing their sentence before they could file a request with the governor and Cabinet. About 1.5 million people are affected. Nearly all states allow felons to vote after completing their sentences.

Opponents argued that the measure treats all felons alike and takes away the ability to judge each individually.

The measure was placed on the ballot by petition.

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9:10 p.m.

Florida voters have approved a measure that bans public officials from paid lobbying jobs for six years after they've completed service.

Voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 12, which bars elected officials, agency heads, judges and others from lobbying for compensation for six years after leaving office instead of the current two. They will still be allowed to lobby in connection with their official duties. For example, a county commissioner could contact a legislator about transportation financing.

Proponents say it is needed to stop the "revolving door" of elected officials who leave office and then go to work for the lobbying firms that once worked to persuade them.

Opponents say the six-year limit is too long and might dissuade good candidates from seeking office.

The measure was placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a panel chosen by the governor, legislative leaders and the Supreme Court chief justice. The commission meets every 20 years.

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9:10 p.m.

Florida voters have approved a measure that bans both offshore oil drilling and the use of electronic cigarettes in most enclosed workplaces.

Voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 9, one of four measures that pulled together unrelated items. The amendment bans drilling for oil or natural gas in the state's territorial waters. That has been a major concern of both environmentalists and tourism officials, who feared a spill could ruin beaches.

The measure also bans the use of electronic cigarettes or vaping in workplaces. Exceptions are made for private homes used for businesses other than childcare, elder care or health care; stand-alone bars; designated hotel rooms; and tobacco and vape shops.

Opponents had argued that each constitutional amendment should only cover one issue. They also said a vaping ban should be handled by the Legislature.

The measure was placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a panel chosen by the governor, legislative leaders and the Supreme Court chief justice. The commission meets every 20 years.

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9:10 p.m.

Florida voters have stripped the state Legislature's power to authorize most casino gambling.

Voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 3, which says the only way casino gambling can be approved is through a statewide initiative placed on the ballot by citizen petition. Exceptions were made for casinos on Indian reservations.

Among those strongly backing the measure were the Walt Disney Co. and the Seminole Tribe of Indians, which owns casinos in the Fort Lauderdale and Tampa areas.

Opponents included some horse and dog track operators. They accused Disney and the Seminoles of not wanting competition for tourist dollars. They said the decision on whether to allow casinos should be left to each county's voters.

The measure was placed on the ballot by petition.

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9:10 p.m.

Florida will soon ban greyhound racing.

The state's voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 13, which bans betting on greyhound races starting in 2021. The 11 tracks that still have the sport will be allowed to keep their more profitable poker rooms, simulcast betting and, in South Florida, slot machines.

The sport remains in five other states, but may be too small to survive.

Proponents said racing is inherently cruel, pointing to the average of two deaths weekly from illness or injury among the state's 8,000 racing dogs.

Opponents said the dogs are treated better than most pets and enjoy racing. They said the industry supports 3,000 jobs.

The measure was placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a panel chosen by the governor, legislative leaders and the Supreme Court chief justice. The commission meets every 20 years.

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9 p.m.

Miami voters have approved a pathway for the creation of a Major League Soccer complex run by retired star David Beckham.

Voters on Tuesday agreed to allow Beckham and his partners to skip competitive bidding and negotiate directly with the city on a 99-year lease to convert a 73-acre (30-hectare) golf course into the soccer complex.

Plans call for a 25,000-seat soccer stadium, a 58-acre (23-hectare) public park as well as a hotel, retail and office space.

In addition, Beckham and partner Jorge Mas would agree to spend about $35 million to clean up toxic waste at the site and pay a living wage for employees.

The team's official name is to be Club Internacional de Futbol Miami, or Inter Miami.

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8:30 p.m.

GOP U.S. Rep. Brian Mast has won re-election to the House from Florida.

Mast defeated Democrat Lauren Baer on Tuesday for a second term in the 18th District, which includes Stuart, Port St. Lucie and Jupiter.

Mast served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan as a bomb technician, losing both legs when a device exploded. He received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and other commendations.

In Congress, Mast has generally supported President Donald Trump's policies and also worked on veterans' issues.

Baer is an attorney who previously served as an adviser to former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and ex-U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.

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8:30 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has won re-election to a ninth term in Congress from Florida.

Diaz-Balart defeated Democrat Mary Barzee Flores on Tuesday in Florida's 25th District, which includes western Miami suburbs and areas near Naples to the west.

The 56-year-old Cuban-American Republican campaigned on his experience and powerful position on the House Appropriations Committee, while mostly staying out of controversies involving President Donald Trump.

Attorney and former judge Barzee Flores sought to link Diaz-Balart to Trump and to money from the National Rifle Association. Barzee Flores was nominated to a federal judgeship by President Barack Obama, but she never got a Senate vote.

Diaz-Balart's brother Lincoln also served in the House and another brother, Jose, is a network news anchor

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8:30 p.m.

Republican Michael Waltz has won election to an open House seat in Florida, keeping the contested 6th District in the GOP column.

Waltz defeated Democrat Nancy Soderberg on Tuesday to win the seat vacated by Republican Ron DeSantis, who resigned to run for Florida governor. The district includes the cities of Daytona Beach and Deltona.

Waltz has not sought elective office before. He runs a government contracting company and is a former Army Green Beret who served in Afghanistan. He also was a foreign policy analyst under President George W. Bush. During his campaign, he stressed a goal of seeking compromise in Congress.

Soderberg runs a public service program at the University of North Florida and previously served on the National Security Council and United Nations under President Bill Clinton.

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8:30 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn has been re-elected to the House in Florida.

Dunn won a second two-year term Tuesday in a sprawling north Florida district by defeating Democrat Bob Rackleff, a Navy veteran and former Leon County commissioner.

Dunn is a surgeon and Army veteran who founded a urological practice in Panama City with more than 400 employees.

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8:30 p.m.

GOP U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney has won a second term in Florida.

Rooney defeated Democrat David Holden in the 19th congressional district, which includes the southwest Florida cities of Naples and Cape Coral.

Rooney had never held elected office until his 2016 victory for the House seat. He has operated Rooney Holdings Inc. for more than three decades in such businesses as building and construction management, oil and gas, retail, and transportation.

Holden and his wife run a financial and retirement planning business in Naples.

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8:30 p.m.

Republican Greg Steube has won election to an open U.S. House seat in Florida.

The former state legislator defeated Democrat Allen Ellison on Tuesday in the 17th congressional district. The district runs from the cities of Sebring and Okeechobee to the southwest Gulf coast.

Ellison is a community organizer involved in economic issues. He became a substitute Democratic candidate after the winning primary candidate, April Freeman, died six weeks before the general election.

Steube is an attorney and Army veteran.

The seat opened when Republican incumbent Tom Rooney retired earlier this year.

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8:30 p.m.

GOP U.S. Rep. Brian Mast has won re-election to the House from Florida.

Mast defeated Democrat Lauren Baer on Tuesday for a second term in the 18th District, which includes Stuart, Port St. Lucie and Jupiter.

Mast served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan as a bomb technician, losing both legs when a device exploded. He received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and other commendations.

In Congress, Mast has generally supported President Donald Trump's policies and also worked on veterans' issues.

Baer is an attorney who previously served as an adviser to former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and ex-U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.

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8:30 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has been re-elected to a seventh term in Florida.

Buchanan defeated Democrat David Shapiro on Tuesday to keep his seat in the 16th District, which includes Sarasota and Bradenton.

Buchanan owned successful car dealerships and a printing business before running for Congress. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees taxes and entitlement programs such as Social Security, and has championed streamlining the tax code.

Shapiro is an attorney who campaigned on improving health care, creating better jobs and protecting the environment. He criticized Buchanan repeatedly for buying a yacht after voting for the House GOP tax bill.

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8:30 p.m.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has been re-elected to the House from Florida.

Gaetz defeated Democrat Jennifer Zimmerman on Tuesday in Florida's 1st District, which stretches from Pensacola across much of the western Florida Panhandle. Zimmerman is a pediatrician who is originally from the Philippines.

Gaetz previously served as a state representative in the Florida House. He is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. Gaetz was first elected to Congress in 2016.

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8:30 p.m.

Four incumbent Democrats representing Florida in the U.S. House have been re-elected without opposition.

Automatically qualifying in Tuesday's election to new two-year terms are Reps. Frederica Wilson of Miami-based District 24; Val Demings of Orlando-area District 10; Lois Frankel of Palm Beach County's District 21; and Kathy Castor of District 14, in the Tampa area.

None of the four had Republican, write-in or minor-party opponents.

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8:25 p.m.

Former U.S. Cabinet secretary Donna Shalala has won election to a House seat in Florida, flipping it into the Democratic column for the first time in decades.

Shalala defeated Republican former television journalist Maria Elvira Salazar on Tuesday in the Miami area's 27th District. It's the first foray into elective politics for the 77-year-old Shalala, who was President Bill Clinton's secretary of Health and Human Services throughout the 1990s.

Shalala also was president of the universities of Wisconsin and Miami and headed the Clinton Foundation from 2015-2017.

The district has long been represented by retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, but has trended Democratic in recent years.

Salazar is a 56-year-old Cuban-American. She had sought to capitalize on the district's strong Hispanic presence and cast Shalala as past her prime.

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8:25 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has won re-election to a House seat in Florida.

Wasserman Schultz was elected Tuesday to an eighth term in Congress in the 23rd District, which includes several cities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

She defeated Republican candidate Joe Kaufman, a writer and researcher who specializes in national security and Middle East policies. There were also two independent candidates in the race, including Tim Canova, whom Wasserman Shultz defeated in 2016.

Wasserman Schultz is a former National Democratic Committee chairwoman and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump. She recently gained national notice when packages containing a series of pipe bombs used her office as a return address. The packages were sent to prominent Democrats, the news media and others.

A Florida man has been charged in the bomb case.

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7:45 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy has won a second term in the House from Florida.

Murphy defeated Republican Mike Miller on Tuesday in the 7th District, which includes downtown Orlando and suburbs such as Winter Park.

Murphy is part of several conservative Democratic organizations on Capitol Hill and says she is focused on job creation and better wages. She is a former educator at Rollins College and worked as a national security specialist in the Defense Department.

Miller served in the Florida House beginning in 2014 before running for Congress. He has also worked for several other Republican lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

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7:45 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch has been re-elected to a fifth term in Florida.

Deutch defeated Republican Nicolas Kimaz on Tuesday in the 22nd congressional district, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Deutch is an attorney and former state senator who has been active in gun-control issues since the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Kimaz is a business entrepreneur who also describes himself as a "holistic healer" on his campaign website.

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7:45 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto has won a second term in Florida.

Soto defeated Republican challenger Wayne Liebnitzky in Tuesday's vote for the seat in the 9th congressional district, which includes the central Florida cities of Kissimmee, St. Cloud and Winter Haven. Liebnitzky was also the GOP nominee in 2016.

Soto is a former Florida state legislator who won his first race for Congress two years ago.

Liebnitzky is a Navy veteran, engineer and businessman.

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7:30 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. John Rutherford has been re-elected in Florida.

Voters on Tuesday handed Rutherford a second term representing the state's 4th congressional district, which is centered in the Jacksonville area. Rutherford defeated Democrat Ges Selmont and two independents to retain his seat.

Rutherford is a former Jacksonville sheriff who also had a long career as an officer with the department.

Selmont is an attorney who grew up in Connecticut and has lived in northeast Florida for nine years.

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7:30 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis has won re-election in Florida.

Bilirakis won a seventh term in the House in Tuesday's vote. He represents Florida's 12th congressional district, which includes northern parts of the Tampa Bay area.

Bilirakis defeated Democrat Chris Hunter, a former federal prosecutor.

Bilirakis is an attorney and former state legislator whose father, Mike Bilirakis, served in Congress for 24 years.

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7:30 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has won re-election in Florida.

Crist won a second term in Tuesday's election by defeating Republican George Buck in the 13th congressional district, which includes the Tampa Bay cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Crist is a former Republican Florida governor who switched parties after an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate. Crist also served in the Florida Legislature and as attorney general.

Buck is an Army veteran and former college professor who currently consults on emergency management and terrorism issues.

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7:30 p.m.

Democratic Rep. Al Lawson has been re-elected to Congress from Florida.

Lawson won a second term Tuesday representing the 5th District, which extends from Tallahassee to Jacksonville in north Florida.

Lawson is a longtime former state legislator and insurance agent. He defeated former Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown in the Democratic primary in August.

On Tuesday, Lawson defeated Republican Virginia Fuller, a registered nurse and pediatric-care facility operator who moved to Florida about two years ago after decades in California.

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7:30 p.m.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey has won re-election to Congress from Florida.

Posey defeated Democratic challenger Sanjay Patel in Tuesday's election for a sixth term in the House. Posey represents Florida's 8th congressional district, which includes the cities of Melbourne and Vero Beach.

Before his election to Congress, Posey served in the Florida House and Senate. He is a longtime real estate agent.

Patel's website says he is a political activist who focuses on economic justice and fair wages, health care as a human right, and guaranteed public education for all Floridians.

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7:30 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster has won a fifth term representing a congressional district in central Florida.

Voters on Tuesday handed Webster a victory in the 11th District, which includes the cities of Spring Hill and the Villages, a massive retirement community of former non-Florida residents.

Webster defeated Democratic challenger Dana Cottrell, a teacher in Hernando County.

Before he was elected to Congress, Webster served in the Florida Legislature for 28 years. He owns an air-conditioning and heating business.

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7:30 p.m.

GOP Rep. Ted Yoho has been re-elected to the U.S. House from Florida.

Yoho defeated Democratic challenger Yvonne Hayes Hinson for a fourth term representing Florida's 3rd congressional district, which includes the cities of Gainesville and Ocala.

Yoho is an animal veterinarian and small-business owner who sits on the House Agriculture and Foreign Affairs committees. He had never run for public office before his first congressional campaign.

Hinson is a former Gainesville City Commission member, special education teacher and principal, and entrepreneur.

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6:45 p.m.

A line of thunderstorms is disrupting the election-night celebration of Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum.

The Tallahassee mayor decided to hold his election-night party outside on the campus of Florida A&M University. Both Gillum and his wife attended the historic black university.

The heavy rain caused by the storm forced the evacuation of a news media tent because it was collapsing due to the stream of rain pounding down on it.

Gillum supporters and reporters crammed into a student cafeteria as lightning flashed and the rain continued to pour down.

Those backing Gillum, however, remained upbeat and continued to chant Gillum's slogan "Bring it home" as the thunderstorm continued.

Gillum is running against Republican Ron DeSantis in the race to succeed Gov. Rick Scott.

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5:20 p.m.

A Florida church that is hosting a polling place is being criticized by election officials after its pastor posted a sign reading "Don't vote for Democrats on Tuesday and sing 'Oh How I Love Jesus' on Sunday."

Pasco County Elections Supervisor Brian Corley told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday that his office had received 75 complaints about the sign by midafternoon. He said that he asked the Grace of God Church in New Port Richey to take down the sign, but because it is not within 100 feet (30 meters) of the actual polling place he can't force its removal.

The Rev. Al Carlisle said he posted the sign because of the Democratic Party's support of abortion and gay rights. He also said Democrats favor open borders, which he said contradicts God's establishment of borders around the Garden of Eden. He said if people are offended by the sign, their problem is with God, not him.

Corley said the church has long been a polling place but it will not be in the future.

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4:15 p.m.

Election officials say polling places in one north Florida county are having trouble with their electronic poll books.

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections spokesman T.J. Pyche says electronic poll books were having intermittent issues on Tuesday, but they weren't going down at an alarming rate.

Officials say all 62 polling places in the county have paper backups available, so any voter whose registration is up to date should be able to vote as normal, even if the precinct is having trouble with the electronic poll books. Anyone whose registration wasn't showing up properly needed to vote with a provisional ballot.

For about an hour in Sarasota County on Tuesday morning, workers at one precinct had to tell voters to come back later because their ballots were not available.

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11:55 a.m.

Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and his wife Casey voted early Tuesday morning in Ponte Vedra Beach.

A small crowd of supporters chanted, "We want Ron!" He shook hands and thanked supporters before he and his wife, holding their children Madison and Mason, went into the polling place.

DeSantis faces challenger Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to replace Gov. Rick Scott, who is running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in a race that could help determine whether the U.S. Senate stays in Republican control.

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11:35 a.m.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and his wife R. Jai voted Tuesday morning at a church in the northside of the city. As he left the polling place, a crowd gathered outside chanting, "Bring it home!"

"I tried to look over to see what she was doing," Gillum said of his wife while holding their 1-year-old son Davis.

"I voted for you," she replied.

Gillum talked about how he tried to keep his campaign positive despite attacks from former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump.

He said that winning "will send a message to Mr. Trump, and Mr. DeSantis as well, that the politics of hatred of division and separation, that they've come to an end. At least in this election."

He added that "people are going out and they're voting for something and not against. And by voting for something we're returning to the politics of decency and what's right and what's common between all of us."

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11:25 a.m.

More than 5.2 million voters cast ballots ahead of Election Day in the battleground state, and records show that Democrats have a slight edge.

New statistics released Tuesday by the state Division of Elections show that more than 2.7 million people voted early, and nearly 2.5 million people have voted by mail.

Democrats have cast more than 2.1 million ballots. Republicans have cast 2.08 million. More than 973,000 voters with no party affiliation have also voted.

This year's totals far exceed those of 2014 midterms, but are still short of the 6.6 million who voted ahead of Election Day in 2016. In 2014, Republicans edged Democrats in votes cast before Election Day, while Democrats led two years ago in the presidential election. Despite the edge from Democrats in 2016, President Donald Trump won Florida due to a surge of GOP voters on Election Day.

Florida's more than 13 million registered voters are choosing a new governor and voting on a pivotal U.S. Senate contest.

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8:13 a.m.

Polls opened quietly at Miami Beach City Hall, where a short line of people waited to cast ballots.

Among the first in line Tuesday morning was Greg Freeman, who took a red-eye flight from the West Coast to make sure he could vote in his Miami Beach district on Election Day.

Freeman had a list of things that mattered to him as he cast a ballot in the gubernatorial race between former Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. He cited health care, the ability to tell the truth and human decency.

Freeman voted for Gillum. He said health care is a priority for him because of a pre-existing medical condition. He's already seen his insurance premiums sky-rocket and says he doesn't "want to be in a high-risk pool."

In Little Havana, 34-year-old Enrique Tarrio says he chose DeSantis because the businesses he owns have flourished under Republican Gov. Rick Scott. He says DeSantis is "picking up where Rick Scott left off."

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7:05 a.m.

Voters in Florida are electing a U.S. senator, a new governor and several new members of Congress while also deciding whether to approve 12 proposed changes to the state's constitution.

Polls opened Tuesday morning in Florida's Eastern time zone and will open one hour later in the western portion of the Florida Panhandle, which is in the Central time zone. Polls close at 7 p.m. local time.

The choice between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and three-term incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson could help determine whether the U.S. Senate stays in Republican control.

Many voters took advantage of early voting, which ended Sunday. As of Monday morning, Democrats had a slight advantage of 2.06 million to 2.04 million in votes cast by mail or at early-voting sites.

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