TAMPA, Fla. - As an outgoing Florida State Senator, Paula Dockery has the ability to read between the lines of election results.
Dockery knows that most of Tuesday's Senate primary winners, including John Legg, Tom Lee, and Jeff Brandes were all backed by Senate leaders in Tallahassee, including the current and future Senate Presidents.
"Those are the individuals that are really handling the purse strings of the Republican party, so they're able to raise a lot of money and direct a lot of money and they're able to turn off the spigot for the opponents that they are backing".
Dockery doesn't think that's good for the party or the voters when Tallahassee power brokers meddle in local primary races.
There's no such Tallahassee manipulations when it comes to constitutional offices like property appraiser. Former Hillsborough County Commissioner and State Senator Ronda Storms trounced incumbent Rob Turner who was caught up in a workplace scandal involving a female employee.
"It was a combination of people being excited about Ronda and people punishing the incumbent" said Dockery.
Storms will face a Democrat in the general election, but many Republican winners tonight face no opposition. Republicans are dominant in district races because the majority party draws the boundaries to favor their candidates. For years, that's been the GOP.
"It's not just a majority, it's a vast majority and the real losers here are Floridians because they don't get to vote or choose from competing philosophies" said former Democratic Congressman, Jim Davis.
But all Floridians will have a choice in the U.S. Senate Race. Incumbent Democrat, Bill Nelson will advance to the general election to go against the newly elected Republican nominee, Connie Mack, who won by just under sixty percent.
Republicans would love nothing more than to occupy both of Florida's Senate seats, but Mack's 59% finish statewide reflects a lack of enthusiasm among Republicans that could hurt Mack's chances in November.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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