- Colleen Wixon, Treasure Coast Newspapers
State House District 54: Erin Grall defeats Al Griffiths
Republican Erin Grall easily won her third term as Florida House Representative for District 54, defeating Democratic challenger Al Griffiths.
Name recognition and partisan preference may have played a part in the election outcome. Grall, a lifelong resident whose family has strong, longtime ties to the area, unofficially received 66% of the vote, in a heavily Republican district.
Results, which are unofficial, will be certified on Nov. 17, according to the Florida Department of State website.
Indian River County's 57,265 registered Republicans comprise about 47% of the 122,169 registered voters in Indian River County, which makes up the bulk of District 54.
The district also includes part of northern St. Lucie County. In contrast, there are 33,677 registered Democrats and 29,188 voters with no party affiliation.
Griffiths, 71, the vice chairman of the Indian River County Democratic Executive Committee, who moved to Sebastian in 2016 from Connecticut, unofficially received 34% of the vote.
Grall also had money behind her campaign, raising nearly six times as much as Griffiths. Grall raised $97,255 by election day compared to $18,063 raised by Griffiths.
Grall campaign signs were placed throughout Indian River County on well-traveled roads and outside homes. With noticeably less money, Griffiths placed some road signs, but ran mostly on social media, using Facebook and a website to get his name out.
State Representatives are elected to two-year terms and are paid $29,697 annually. As per state law, Grall's term in office begins upon election.
Grall listed education and the state's voluntary pre-kindergarten program as her priorities this year. Last year, Grall pushed for greater accountability from the state's VPK providers, sponsoring bills that would have established an accountability system and additional progress monitoring for the state's free preschool program for 4-year-old children.
She also sponsored last year's House bill requiring parents to be notified and consent before a minor could obtain an abortion. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Senate version of the bill into law this summer. It went into effect July 1.
Griffiths said early in his campaign he hoped to offer a choice to the one-party rule in Florida, as an option to break up the Republican majority in the state House. He criticized Grall’s abortion bill, saying it “chipped away” at women’s rights.
Grall, an attorney and partner in her family’s Grall Law Group, had an extra challenge in this year’s campaign — she is due to give birth to her third child next month.