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Democrats retain Fullwood seat with Tracie Davis

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Although former Rep. Reggie Fullwood's name appeared on the ballot, his Democratic replacement, Tracie Davis, was elected Tuesday in Duval County's state House District 13.

With all precincts reporting, Davis had 59 percent of the vote, while Republican Mark Griffin had 40 percent.

Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, left the House last month after pleading guilty to federal wire-fraud and tax charges. House District 13 is heavily Democratic, but Fullwood's resignation forced the local Democratic Party to quickly select Davis to take his place. 

Fullwood's name remained on the ballot, though votes cast for him went to Davis.

"I think I am the first candidate in Duval County to win a race when their name wasn't even on the ballot," Davis said. "(I'm) so completely excited and thankful to the voters of District 13 for electing me to be their representative."

Around Florida, Democrats made a net gain of two seats in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday, although Republicans kept their firm grip over the 120-member chamber.

With some close races not finalized, Republicans appeared headed to holding a 79-seat majority in the House, with the Democrats moving up two seats to 41.

One of the surprises of the night was the narrow defeat of state Rep. Amanda Murphy, a New Port Richey Democrat who lost her Pasco County seat to Amber Mariano, a Republican, by 732 votes. Murphy may have been caught in a Republican tide that saw presidential nominee Donald Trump carry the county by more than 21 percentage points.

Incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, said he was pleased with the outcome of the House elections.

"Despite facing unprecedented electoral obstacles, House Republicans had a great election night," Corcoran said in a statement. "We won seats that Republicans lost four years ago and despite predictions of Democratic waves in South and Central Florida, we brought home our Republican incumbents who will be joined by an outstanding class of change-oriented new members."