Former Florida House Speaker John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) won the Republican special primary election for state Senate District 8 on September 15, 2009. The October 6, 2009 special election is largely a formality, with Mr. Thrasher facing opposition only from write-in candidates. Senate District 8, a coastal district that stretches from the Georgia state line to northern Volusia County, had been represented by Sen. James E. (Jim) King, Jr. (R-Jacksonville) until his July 26, 2009 death.
Mr. Thrasher received 39.2 percent of the 34,150 votes cast. His nearest opponent, anti-tax activist Dan Quiggle of Ponte Vedra Beach, received 27.3 percent of the vote.
The candidates in the special primary election raised $1,121,061 in contributions, led by Mr. Thrasher with contributions of $622,952. The campaign also saw significant independent expenditures, primarily by groups affiliated with trial lawyers opposed to Mr. Thrasher. Media reports estimated that spending by groups not affiliated with candidates may have exceeded $2 million.