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Special Elections Fill Legislative, Congressional Seats

Republican Matt Gaetz, the son of state Sen. Don Gaetz, was elected to the House seat vacated by former Speaker Ray Sansom, according to unofficial election results Tuesday night.

Gaetz defeated Democrat Jan Fernald, although local elections officials have said the election may not be officially certified for 12 days. The House has the authority to swear him in based on unofficial results, however. In a release late Tuesday the Republican State Leadership Committee said Gaetz' election was the 51st GOP win in a special election since the 2008 election, and Republican Party Chairman John Thrasher in a separate statement welcomed Gaetz to the Legislature.

State Sen. Ted Deutch will replace Robert Wexler in Congressional District 19.

Deutch was elected to fill the Palm Beach and Broward County seat Tuesday night, defeating Republican Ed Lynch and NPA candidate Jim McCormick. Deutch will serve the remaining seven months of Wexler's term and have to face re-election in November. The special congressional election is the first since the passage of the health care reform bill, but was in a heavily Democratic district.

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