In one of Pensacola’s most contentious races of the 2020 primary, incumbent Rep. Alex Andrade won against challenger Cris Dosev for the Republican nomination for the Florida House District 1 seat.
Andrade’s margin of victory Tuesday night was with 21-point lead over Dosev with a vote total of 9,446 to 5,998, according to the preliminary election results.
The race between Andrade and Dosev became personal between the two candidates as both exchanged barbs on social media with other candidates’ supporters and with each other at candidate forums and outside an early voting location.
Andrade got the backing of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in the primary. The high-profile endorsements came at the same time as a flurry of campaign mailers hit Dosev for his 2018 campaign against Gaetz, in which Dosev won the backing of long-time conservative writer Bill Kristol, who has become a persona non grata among supporters of President Donald Trump.
Dosev hit back with an ad attacking Andrade for supporting an equal rights bill that featured images of transgender women with ominous music and falsely claimed Andrade supported allowing men to use women’s bathrooms.
Dosev brushed off criticism of the advertisement by saying Andrade did not represent the voters in his district.
“This is the Panhandle,” Dosev said. “You’re not going to have that guy dressed up like that show up at the Pensacola public library, and you’re not going to have all these folks in the Panhandle, conservative Christians, flocking to the library to hear story time. They’re just not going to do it.”
Andrade doubled down on advertisements pushing Dosev as an anti-Trump liberal with more mailers and advertisements. Andrade defended the ads saying they were needed to counter misleading messages put out by Dosev.
Andrade pointed to a Dosev radio advertisement touting an endorsement from Trump Team 2020 Florida, a private company that is in no way affiliated with the president or his campaign. The Republican Party of Florida announced this week that it had sent cease and desist letters to the organization.
Andrade will now advance to face Democratic candidate Dianne Krumel in the November election.
Krumel was unopposed in the Democratic side and hopes her involvement as a founder of the Save Pensacola Beach movement will give her a boost to overcome Andrade in the general election.
Jim Little can be reached at email@example.com and 850-208-9827.