Lawmakers vote for a living, and many suggest whom you should vote for in national races. But 10Investigates found a number of those same Florida legislators didn’t bother to vote in March’s presidential primary.
Similar to what WTSP reported in 2012, some lawmakers who endorsed candidates in the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) didn’t vote in that primary, according to county voting records.
Legislators who didn’t vote in the 2016 PPP include four from Miami-Dade County: Republican Rep. Erik Fresen, Democratic representatives Daphne Campbell and Cynthia Stafford, and Democratic State Senator Gwen Margolis.
Fresen endorsed Marco Rubio, whose future in the presidential race depended on his performance in Florida. Rubio finished second in Florida, then immediately suspended his campaign.
Both Stafford and Margolis publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton, who eventually won Florida.
Representatives Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) and Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee) also failed to vote in this year’s presidential primary, according to their respective county’s supervisors of elections.
None of the lawmakers mentioned returned 10Investigates’ requests for comment last Thursday.
However, 10Investigates found the 96% voting rate by state lawmakers is much higher than the 90% recorded in 2012, when only Republicans went to the polls in the PPP.
Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater all voted in the 2016 PPP election.
UPDATE 4/24: Beshears tweeted to 10Investigates on Sunday afternoon, suggesting he never received the message sent to his office. Rehwinkel Vasilinda tweeted that she didn't vote because she was "protesting closed primaries" and included an emoji of a thumbs-down.
UPDATE 4/25: An earlier version of this story included State Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Wauchula), after the Hardee Co. Supervisor of Elections reported he had not voted in the 2016 PPP. But Supervisor of Elections Chet Huddleston has since provided WTSP a letter confirming Albritton's PPP vote, explaining the mistake as a "miscommunication."