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State Sen. Gibson of Jacksonville chosen to lead Senate Democrats

The Florida Senate

Senate Democrats elected Audrey Gibson to replace Jeff Clemens as the next leader of the caucus in a secret ballot Monday evening.

Clemens, D-Lake Worth, resigned from his Senate seat on Oct. 27 after admitting he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

Gibson, D-Jacksonville, defeated Orlando Democrat Randolph Bracy in Monday night's election. She will take over as the Senate minority leader after the 2018 elections, when Democrats hope to flip several seats in a chamber where Republicans now hold a 24-15 majority.

“I look forward to working with caucus members on their priorities and ensuring their voices are heard on legislation impacting all Floridians. I am also excited about bringing in new Democrat senators to the Florida Senate to create a legislative balance in the chamber,” said Gibson in a statement. She was elected to the Senate in 2011 after serving eight years in the House.

Clemens' abrupt departure rocked Senate Democrats, who were pumped up after recapturing a formerly Republican-held Miami-Dade County seat in a September special election.