In presidential election years, Florida Democrats perennially have high hopes to increase their meager numbers in the Legislature by winning crucial swing district races. They lost several of them on Tuesday, including most surprisingly in House District 36, where 21-year-old University of Central Florida student Amber Mariano knocked off Democratic incumbent Amanda Murphy in a stunning upset by 732 votes, or .6 percent.

From another perspective, however, it might have been considered an upset if Murphy HAD held on to the seat she initially won in 2013. That’s because Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Pasco County by 21 percentage points, 58 percent to 37 percent.

“I said I got Trump dumped,” laughed Murphy on Thursday afternoon.

“It was a Trump tsunami in Pasco,” says Janet Cruz, the Florida House Democratic Leader-designate. “Amanda Murphy is a boots-on-the-ground, hardworking member. She couldn’t have knocked on any more doors than she knocked on, and she couldn’t have raised any more money than she raised to make a difference,” Cruz said.

In fact, Murphy raised more than four times the amount Mariano did in the contest, taking in $198,605 versus Mariano’s $47,106.

Allison Morano, a former vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party and former chair of the Pasco County Democrats, says Murphy’s close finish “shows what a good representative she is.”

Although Pasco has seemingly lost its previous designation as a leading bellwether county to Hillsborough County during this current election cycle, Morano says Pasco is still crucial to how the state of Florida ultimately goes, referring to Barack Obama getting 48 percent of the vote there in 2008 and the success of the Fair Districts amendments there in 2010. She said the first place she went to observe early polling results on Tuesday night was at the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections website, and quickly realized it wasn’t going to be a good night for Democrats. “I tried not to believe that,” she

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