From reporter Rhema Thompson:
With 53 percent of the vote, Paula Wright will remain in office as District 4 School Board Member for another four years. She beat challenger Darryl Willie by about 740 votes.
District 4 seat oversees much of the so-called “transformation region” of Duval County, home to some of the district’s lowest performing schools and the focus of several privately funded efforts to turn them around.
Wright’s opponent Willie entered the race with a pledge to bring more innovation and accountability to the position. Tuesday night he said he was thankful for the widespread support and the chance to raise important issues.
"It wasn’t ever about me, it’s about kids and raising the questions around education," he said "People started to ask the questions and now they’re getting the answers. And I look forward to seeing what Ms. Paula Wright does as she moves forward."
In the District 2 race, Scott Shine will move on to the runoff where he will face either Theresa Graham or Sam Hall, each who have 19 percent of the vote.
UPDATE 9:07 from the News Service of Florida
Powerful Republican Sen. John Thrasher appeared to be cruising to an easy victory Tuesday night. Shortly after 8 p.m., Thrasher, a St. Augustine Republican who is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, had about 71 percent of the vote in his District 6 contest against Derek Hankerson, which includes all or parts of St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia and Putnam counties. Thrasher will face Democrat Kathleen Trued and no-party candidate Greg Feldman in November.
The Save Jax Libraries group has conceded the library straw ballot, with just slightly more than 50% of voters turning down a proposal for a vote on an independent library district. They sent out this statement from Chair Kevin Hyde.
"Today's vote was close and shows that nearly 50% of our county supported a strong library system. While we are disappointed that the straw ballot did not pass this first time, we are pleased with this strong showing. We will continue to push for a vibrant library system and support it in any way we can. Libraries are too important to Jacksonville to discontinue the effort now."
George Sheldon is the winner of the Democratic primary for attorney general. Sheldon is a former deputy attorney general who once worked in the Obama administration. With 43 percent of precincts reporting, he led state Rep. Perry Thurston by a margin of 62 to 38 percent.
Our reporter, Peter Haden is with the Fant campaign. Fant now has a 5 vote lead over Paul Renner. Tea Party organizer Billie Tucker told him, "I don't think we've ever seen a race this close."
UPDATE 8:30 from the Associated Press:
Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist has won the Democratic nomination to seek his old job with his new party.
The victory Tuesday is another step in Crist's attempt at a political comeback. He will now face Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Early returns showed Crist with 75 percent of the vote, with 35 percent of precincts reporting.
Crist beat Nan Rich, the former Senate Democratic leader who has been campaigning for governor longer than Crist has been a Democrat.
Crist left the GOP in 2010 when he ran as an independent for the Senate seat won by Republican Marco Rubio.
Crist used to call himself a Ronald Reagan Republican, but he increasingly aligned himself with Democrats after the Senate campaign.
He campaigned for President Barack Obama in 2012 and registered as a Democrat after the election.
With the latest update, Jay Fant leads Paul Renner by just 20 votes in the race for State Representative District 15.
UPDATE 8:15 from the Associated Press
Former Florida deputy attorney general George Sheldon has a commanding early lead in the Democratic primary for attorney general.
With 28 percent of the precincts reporting, Sheldon had 62 percent of the vote to 38 percent for state Rep. Perry Thurston.
But those early returns do not include many votes from South Florida. Thurston is a Fort Lauderdale attorney and legislator and Sheldon is from Tallahassee. He also worked as a top official in the Obama administration.
The winner of the primary will face Republican incumbent Pam Bondi and Libertarian candidate Bill Wohlsifer.
The Democratic primary has been a low-profile campaign where the two rivals largely refrained from criticizing each other directly. Instead they have been united in their unfailing criticism of Bondi.
With 28% of precincts counted in the GOP primary, Governor Rick Scott is coasting to a win with 87% of the vote. Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder has 11% and Yinka Adeshina just 2%.
On the Democratic side, Charlie Crist (75%) is handily beating Nan Rich (25%.) If this trend continues as we get more numbers from around the state, he'd be the first person to win a gubernatorial nomination in Florida as both a Republican and a Democrat.
We're now starting to get some election day and absentee results.
With 177/199 precints reporting, WJCT's Rhema Thompson reports that incumbent school board candidate Paula Wright's campaign is declaring victory. She has 54% of the vote to Darryl Willie's 45%.
It's important to note that right now we're looking at mostly early voting numbers. We'll start to see more of the data from election day soon.
Incumbent Ander Crenshaw (74%) leads Ryman Shoaf (26%) by a comfortable margin in the race for US Representative District 5.
Glo Smith (76%) is leading Thuy Lowe (23%) in the District 5 race. The winner will face Representative Corrine Brown in November.
The first numbers are coming in, and in one of the races we're watching closely this evening, State Representative District 15, the two candidates are neck and neck. Jay Fant has 50.79% of the vote to Paul Renner's 49.21%.
In the Duval County School Board races, Scott Shine is dominating the District 2 race with 50% of the vote followed by Theresa Graham (18%), Sam Hall (17%) and Shannon Russell (15%)
Incumbent Paula Wright is leading in the School Board District 4 Race with 62% of the vote. Challenger Darryl Willie has 38%.
When the polls close, join WJCT News for the latest returns and updates throughout the evening. We have reporters in the field and we'll be monitoring state and local races here all night.