Two incumbents in Northeast Florida have been defeated in the August primary.
State Attorney Angela Corey lost Melissa Nelson, and Public Defender Matt Shirk lost to Charlie Cofer. Both of them were looking for their third terms.
Corey is now the first incumbent Jacksonville state attorney to lose a re-election bid since the 1970s when Florida eliminated the county solicitor position. Shirk chose to run despite a grand jury calling for him to resign or be removed from office following multiple scandals.
Corey made a concession speech Tuesday night less than two hours after most polls closed in Florida.
“I will figure out what it was about our stellar record that I was not able to communicate to the voters,” Corey said. “And once I figure that out, I will sit down and let you all know what I could have done better. But I know one thing that will never waiver. And that’s my love and devotion to the people of this community and to all of you.”
Melissa Nelson gave a victory speech to her supporters.
“I believed that we deserve more in our justice system, and that’s why I ran,” she said. “And tonight this victory gives voice to what our community expects from our justice system.”
She reminded her supporters of her original promise that they can do better.
“This campaign was not hatched by the establishment,” Nelson said. “Quite the contrary. This campaign was the result of people who care very genuinely about this city, and it was conceived by people who care about truth and fairness in the pursuit of justice.”
In Duval County, Nelson got 65 percent compared to Corey’s 27 percent. In Clay County the results were 64 to 23 percent. In Nassau County, Nelson won 57 to 25 percent.
Charlie Cofer won Duval County overwhelmingly with 77 percent of the vote compared to 22 percent from Matt Shirk. The results were 71 to 28 percent and 7 0 to 29 in Clay and Nassau counties respectively.
*All of these results are unofficial and will change as more votes are tallied.