SARASOTA — Voters in Sarasota and Charlotte counties gave their nod of approval in Tuesday’s general elections to State Sen. Joe Gruters and State Rep. James Buchanan, both Republicans, giving both men a second term in their respective offices.

According to uncertified returns from the state Divisions of Elections, Gruters garnered 186,949 votes or 57.71% to defeat his opponent, Katherine Norman, in the race for a four-year term in the District 23 senate race.

District 23 includes all of Sarasota County and western Charlotte County.

Despite a reported surge in Democratic voters, Norman only managed to capture 130,419 votes, or 40.26% of the total 323,939 votes cast in the race.

A third candidate in the race, Robert Kaplan, no party affiliation, managed to capture only 6,571 votes, or 2.03% of the total.

In Charlotte County, the vote totals were Gruters, 40,487; Norman, 22,492; and Kaplan, 1,120 according to the unofficial results. In Sarasota County, the vote totals were Gruters, 146,462; Norman, 107,927; and Kaplan, 5,451 according to the unofficial results.


In a statement posted on his Facebook page earlier Tuesday, Gruters wrote, “Thank you for all the help and support that I received this election. I love my family and the community I represent and I will continue to fight for what I believe is right in Tallahassee.”

State Dist. 74

In the contest to represent District 74 in the State House, Republican Buchanan, the son of Congressman Vern Buchanan, swept away his Democratic opponent, Lisa Stortstrom.

In winning a second term, Buchanan received 72,198 votes, or 61.99% of the total votes cast, while Stortstrom took 44,273 votes, or 38.01%, according to the unofficial results from the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections.

House District 74 includes the southern portion of Sarasota County including North Port.

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