Candidate introductions start at around the 12-minute mark:

A sold-out crowd of more than 500 people gathered at Marty Higginbotham’s Rocking H Ranch tonight to meet candidates, munch barbecue and cast straw poll ballots at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Political Hob Nob. Keep reading for straw poll results.

As participants filed in and during the candidates’ 30-second introductions, 356 individuals cast votes in balloting overseen by the Polk Supervisor of Elections Office.

(View a Ledger photo gallery)

Results are below. Keep in mind that the voting reflects the leanings of a largely business-minded crowd of individuals who paid $25 each to attend a Chamber of Commerce event.

The voting in each race pitted candidates of both parties against each other. In real-life voting, party primaries take place Aug. 28, and the general election will be held Nov. 6.

Len Erickson of WLKF’s Mayhem in the AM served as master of ceremonies.

U.S. Senate

  • Rick Scott, R, 222
  • Bill Nelson, D, 115
  • Rocky Roque de la Fuente, R, 7

U.S. House, District 9

  • Wayne Liebnitzky, R, 162
  • Darren Soto, D, 111
  • Alan Grayson, D 26

U.S. House, District 15

  • Neil Combee, R, 92
  • Ross Spano, R, 62
  • Andrew Learned, D, 61
  • Sean Harper, R, 40
  • Danny Kushmer, R, 34
  • Kristen Carlson, D, 19
  • Ray Pena, D, 17
  • Ed Shoemaker, R, 12

U.S. House, District 17

  • Greg Stuebe, R, 85
  • Julio Gonzalez, R, 84
  • April Freeman, D, 54
  • Bill Akins, R, 39
  • Bill Pollard, D, 22

Florida Governor

  • Adam Putnam, R, 234
  • Gwen Graham, D, 37
  • Andrew Gillum, D, 29
  • Ron DeSantis, R, 23
  • Philip Levine, D, 22
  • Jeff Greene, D, 6
  • Chris King, D, 1
  • Bob White, D, 1

Florida Attorney General

  • Ashley Moody, R, 184
  • Sean Shaw, D, 59
  • Frank White, R, 48
  • Ryan Torrens, D, 26
  • Jeffrey Marc Siskind, NPA, 3

Florida Chief Financial Officer

  • Jimmy Patronis, R, 203
  • Jeremy Ring, D, 91

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

  • Denise Grimsley, R, 129
  • Baxter Troutman, R, 59
  • Matt Caldwell, R, 57
  • Roy David Walker, D, 43
  • Nikki Fried, D, 23
  • Jeffrey Duane Porter, D, 11
  • Mike McCalister, R, 10

Florida Senate, District 20

  • Tom Lee, R, 170
  • Joy Gibson, D, 51
  • John Manners Houman, R, 39
  • Kathy Lewis, D, 39

Florida Senate, District 22

  • Kelli Stargel, R, 218
  • Bob Doyel, D, 114
  • Ricardo Rangel, D, 6

Florida Senate, District 26

  • Ben Albritton, R, 216
  • Catherine Price, R, 90

Florida House, District 39

  • Josie Tomkow, R, 198
  • Ricky Shirah, D, 114

Florida House, District 40

  • Colleen Burton, R, 238
  • Shandale Terrell, D, 95

Florida House, District 42

  • Mike La Rosa, R, 204
  • Barbara Cady, D, 90

Florida House, District 56

  • Melony Bell, R, 231
  • Jeff Mann, R, 63

County Commission, District 2

  • Rick Wilson, R, 223
  • Katherine “Kat” Gates-Skipper, R, 69

County Commission, District 4

  • Martha Santiago, R, 143
  • Jim Guth, R, 116
  • Karen Cooper Welzel, D, 70

Circuit Judge, Group 10

  • Melissa Gravitt, 138
  • Keith Merritt, 128
  • Lee Cohen, 52

Circuit Judge, Group 11

  • Dana Y. Moore, 168
  • Steve Pinckett, 130

School Board, District 3

  • Scott Jones, 127
  • Sarah Fortney, 77
  • Kala Tedder, 53
  • LaTrice Moore, 51

School Board, District 5

  • Kay Fields, 119
  • Terry L. Clark, 98
  • Jennifer Sabin, 90

School Board, District 7

  • Lisa Miller, 209
  • David Byrd, 95

Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, Group 2

  • Greg Williams, 133
  • Joe Garrison, 118

Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, Group 3

  • Kyle Carlton, 175
  • OnDrew Hartigan, 70

Marty Higginbotham, right, welcomes Political Hob Nob guests to his Rocking H Ranch in south Lakeland. Len Erickson of WLKF served as emcee.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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