Perhaps that was because of an alleged internal poll that showed Henriquez down by double digits to Storms approximately six weeks ago.
But Henriquez worked hard, and raised much more money than Storms, the controversial former Hillsborough County Commissioner who had never won countywide in Florida. The final tally: Henriquez 52 percent, Storms 43 percent. The Democrat wins.
Speaking to CL late Tuesday night, Henriquez was analytical in assessing how he did it.
"I really think we ran a really smart race. Our polling showed that it was very difficult for her to move the needle, beyond her name recognition and built-in advantages that she had. We put together a smart campaign and worked our butts off. We had a great team, we canvassed around the county, in areas that people wouldn't have expected us to go, and basically raised the resources necessary to build our name ID to the point that our message was a hiring decision worked."
Out of over 60,000 votes cast, Danish won by less than 900 votes, taking the race 51-49 percent.
A former school teacher, Danish told CL's Michael Newburger that he wants to increase funding for education in Florida.
"I'm talking K through college. That keeps coming up as an issue that we want to improve, and we talk about how wonderful the education system is, and how we want to improve it...and how we want to have accountability, but no one wants to put money into doing that."
An equally tight race in Eastern Hillsborough County's HD-59 race saw Republican Ross Spano narrowly edge out Democrat Gail Gottlieb, also by a 51-49 percent margin.
Dudley targeted much of his campaign against Farkas for his 2006 vote in the legislature for voting for SB 888, which allowed utility companies like Progress Energy to charge ratepayers for construction costs of nuclear plants regardless of their completion. That vote was nearly unanimous in the legislature at the time, but the public has a much more critical view of it now than it did then, and Dudley was smart in attacking Farkas for that vote.
Farkas went after Dudley for, well, being an attorney. A criminal defense attorney.
That angered Dudley, who told CL earlier Tuesday that it revealed a lack of understanding of the U.S. Constitution on the part of Farkas, who is a chiropractor.
Iuculano was an extremely conservative candidate who set the tone of the race a year ago when she slammed Beckner with what stands as the ultimate negative epithet in the Tampa Bay area, labeling him a "San Francisco Democrat."
Before the votes were all in, CL asked Beckner about his thoughts on Iuculano.
"I give her an I give her an 'A' for effort and an 'F' for integrity and honesty," Beckner said caustically.
With 74 of 82 precincts reporting, Higginbotham is leading Nash by a 58-38 percent lead.
Speaking to CL before the final results were in tonight, Nash said he disagreed with the proposition that Democrats are unelectable in Eastern Hillsborough (and cited Gail Gottlieb's chances as proving that adage to be inaccurate, though Gottlieb is trailing as we write this to Republican Ross Spano).
With 105 of the 225 precincts in, Young leads Ehrlich 58-42 percent.
Believe it or not (and pending the final tally), that 42 percent for Ehrlich would be the second best result for a Democrat against the legendary Young in the 42 years that he's been in office.
Best sort-of-local media moment so far this Election Night: BBC's live simulcast on WUSF from the University of South Florida's Marshall Center, sadly lasting only an hour, from 6 to 7 p.m.
It was fun to hear the bemused Brits talk wonderingly about how excited we Americans get about our presidential elections. The anchor managed to seem both respectful and unimpressed by his roundtable guests, including a woman he cheerily addressed as "Pam" (that would be Iorio).
Expat TV producer Mal Young, interviewed by phone in L.A., allowed that the election was fun, but "not quite as enthralling as something written by Aaron Sorkin."
But the best part was when a decidedly skeptical BBC reporter interviewed a rep of the Tea Party of Florida. The reporter tried valiantly to conceal his incredulity as the TPOF guy expounded on his fears that the U.S. was going to break up into multiple dueling states à la the Soviet Union. Then he asked him, if the TPOF is so concerned with the deficit, whether he was worried that Romney's across-the-board tax cuts and expanded military budget might actually add to the deficit. (Good question, Mr. BBC.) Somehow Mr. RPOF's answer brought John F. Kennedy into the discussion, referring to him, I think, as having been the U.S. Senator from New York.
The BBC is continuing its coverage of the election into the wee hours; it's five hours later over there, so they're pulling an all-nighter. Check it out online.
The former George W. Bush flack turned CNN commentator repeated the news this afternoon that has had conservatives buzzing nationally - that Pasco, that went for John McCain by three percentage points in 2008, has eight percent more Republicans than Democrats voting this time around, at least up until 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.
No, that's not just early voting/vote by absentee calculations - Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley is actually posting in something like real time - as real as it gets, I suppose - the total number of votes cast today, Election Day, in Pasco.
As of 4 p.m., 81,950 ballots had been cast in total by Republican voters - that includes early voting, absentee, and votes at the polls. Democrats were at 41,650. Broken down percentage wise, that's 43 percent for Republicans, 35 percent for Democrats.
So what does this mean?
Well, it means that Democrats are not doing the job in keeping the margins close, as they had hoped to do.
However, Castor swatted away those conservative fantasies by vanquishing the survivor of that GOP primary in 2010, Mike Prendergast.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe was a GOP primary candidate in 2012 set to face Castor, but he later dropped out of the race when he realized fundraising was a major chore against the incumbent in an overwhelmingly Democratic district.
So who is this year's
sacrificial lamb GOP opponent? It's E.J. Otero, a retired Air Force Colonel who had tours of duty supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Otero hasn't received much support from the Republican Party of Florida, but he was allowed to speak briefly at the GOP get-out-the-vote rally in the tight confines of La Segunda Bakery in Ybor City, which featured a host of Republican officials, including former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Apparently the Republican Party of Florida agrees, as its name is on a vicious mailer against Gottlieb that hit mailboxes in the district this past weekend.
The mailer depicts Occupy Wall Street activists on one side, and what appears to be a terrorist flinging a bomb on the other. At the bottom of the flyer it says, "Gail Gottlieb — Way Too Liberal, Way Too Extreme, Not One Of Us!" (You can view it here.)
Gottlieb is a Brandon native who has lived much of her professional life working for progressive groups in Washington D.C. and New York, which apparently makes her too radical for the district. But the Tampa Tribune's conservative editorial board didn't feel that way, as they endorsed her over her GOP opponent, Ross Spano (The Tampa Bay Times endorsed her as well).
Gottlieb calls the mailer "outrageous."