Melissa Nelson defeated incumbent Angela Corey in the 4th Judicial Circuit's Republican primary battle Tuesday night, 64 percent to 26 percent.
Nelson enjoyed a sizable advantage in campaign funds throughout the home stretch of the race and appears to have used that money to sail to an easy victory. She was a former prosecutor under Corey and filed to run in May of this year.
Nelson has said Corey hasn't been tough enough on crime. Corey said she has been viewed as a being too tough on crime. Corey told First Coast News the message of her toughness toward crime was not publicized enough.
Corey has struggled to rise above several controversies in the run up to the primary, some larger than others. She was accused of forcing her office staff to contribute to her campaign with their time and money. A group of lawyers accused her of votersuppression and criticized by a group of vets for an alleged distorted campaign ad.
A Harvard law school group accused her of aggressively pursuing the death penalty, pushing Duval County to number 2 in the nation for number of death sentences handed down over the last ten years.
The race looked especially grim for Corey a few days before the election after a UNF/Times-Union poll showed Nelson ahead of Corey by 32 points just five days before the election.
Corey was the 4th Circuit's State Attorney from 2009-2016.
The third candidate in the Republican primary race, Wes White, received 9.5 percent of the vote.
Nelson will face off against write-in candidate Kenny Leigh in the general election, Nov. 8.
Leigh is a mens-only divorce lawyer whose eponymous firm just declared bankruptcy. There's no word at this time if this will force him from the race.
See the full results for the State Attorney's GOP primary race: