This time around, Lizbeth Benacquisto stood firmly on top of the heap.
The State Senate majority leader, whose endorsement from former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the spring couldn't help her to a seat in the U.S. Congress, earned another four-year term in state office in Tuesday's "universal" primary with an easy victory over opponent Michael Dreikhorn for the District 30 Senate seat.
Benacquisto took 59.44 percent of the vote in a district that includes part of Charlotte County. Dreikhorn, also a Republican, took the remaining 40.52 percent.
Because there is no opposition in the Nov. 4 general election, all voters regardless of affiliation could vote, with the winner taking the seat.
Both candidates ran in April for the open U.S. Rep. District 19 seat that was occupied by Trey Radel before he resigned in January after he was arrested on cocaine charges.
Both were defeated by eventual special election winner Curt Clawson.
Neither retuned calls for comment.
In an earlier interview, Benacquisto said she wanted to continue the progress the state has made fiscally if elected to her second and final four-year team.
"I've been focused on balancing the budget, we cut taxes, reduced fees and paid down our debt," Benacquisto said. "Our responsibility is to make sure our position in the state is strong and work with my colleagues on policies that allow businesses to be successful."
Benacquisto also said she also worked to ensure state universities and colleges are preparing their students for the next generation of jobs, and she co-sponsored the Florida GI Bill
She said her plan was to continue on the same path, bringing in new business while protecting our resources close to home.
"We want to reduce regulations so if folks want to start a business, they can do it in a beneficial environment," Benacquisto said. "We also want to focus on protecting the Caloosahatchee and making sure we invest dollars to preserve the water quality and quantity we have in Southwest Florida."