TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Democrats tried something new and got the same result, losing the sixth straight governor’s race, possibly losing all three statewide offices on Tuesday’s ballot and winding up with a Senate race that’s too close to call.
In short, the Democrats’ blue wave hit President Donald Trump’s figurative red wall, and once again Florida maintained its reputation for close elections — with Republicans having the edge.
Republican Ron DeSantis defeated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than a percentage point and three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was hoping a recount would reverse Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s narrow lead.
“It seems like we’re living up to our history,” said Bob Poe, who was Florida’s Democratic Party chairman during the 2000 presidential recount. “Florida was just being Florida.”
Tuesday’s results could help Trump when he seeks re-election in 2020, with DeSantis and Scott in a better position to use their offices to sway opinions if they maintain support with Florida voters. And while Republicans swept Florida’s statewide races, Democrats again crept closer to winning, and may get a boost going forward from a new constitutional amendment that will restore felons’ voting rights.
But for now, Republicans maintain their dominance in Florida — even if by the slimmest of margins.
For the third straight governor race, a Republican won without winning half the statewide vote. In the Senate race, Scott led Nelson by more than 30,000 votes out of more than 8.1 million cast.
Florida’s election was largely a referendum on Trump. DeSantis’ primary campaign was based almost entirely on his and Trump’s mutual admiration. And while Democrats despise the president, Republicans love him. He came to Florida twice in the final six days of the election to encourage his base to show up for DeSantis and Scott.
It may have made the difference, and now DeSantis will be in a position to return the favour. Florida’s 29 electoral college votes will be critical to Trump’s re-election and having a sitting Republican governor will help.
Democrats did much better in heavily Democratic counties than they did four years ago when Scott beat former Gov. Charlie Crist, said University of North Florida political science professor Matthew Corrigan, who was part of The Associated Press team analyzing returns Tuesday night.
Broward County turnout went from 44 to 57 per cent since the last midterm election. Similarly, Miami-Dade County increased turnout from 50 per cent to 57 per cent.
But Republicans amped up …read more