1974 United States Senate election in Florida
Stone: 30–40% 40–50% 50–60% 60–70%
Eckerd: 30–40% 40–50% 50–60% 60–70%
The 1974 United States Senate election in Florida was held on November 5, 1974. Incumbent Senator Edward Gurney, a Republican, declined to seek a second term after being indicted for taking bribes in return for his influence with the Federal Housing Administration. The primary for the Republican nomination pitted Eckerd drug store owner Jack Eckerd against Florida Public Service Commissioner Paula Hawkins. Eckerd won handily, receiving approximately 67.5% of the vote. The Democratic primary, however, was a crowded field with eleven candidates vying for the nomination. Because no candidate received a majority of the votes, U.S. Representative Bill Gunter and Secretary of State of Florida Richard Stone advanced to a run-off election. Stone won by a small margin of 1.68%.
Thus, Eckerd and Stone faced off in the general election. John Grady, a family physician and member of George Wallace's American Independent Party, performed exceptionally well for a third-party candidate. Grady may have split the conservative vote, allowing Stone to win. On election day, Stone received 43.38% of the vote, Eckerd garnered 40.91% of the vote, and Grady acquired 15.7% of the vote. Stone served only one term in the Senate and would be defeated by Gunter in the Democratic primary in 1980.