On Aug. 28, Florida conducted the primary elections for the office of governor, one of two national senate seats, and all of the national representative seats. The results, especially of the first two, could have an impact on Florida politics for years to come.
The gubernatorial race yielded an easy victory for the Republican candidate, and shocking one of the Democrats.
Robert DeSantis won over 50 percent of the Republican vote, which was to be expected due to President Trump’s endorsement.
“Congressman Ron DeSantis is a special person who has done an incredible job,” said Trump in a Tweet, “He is running in Tuesdays Primary for Governor of Florida….Strong on Crime, Borders and wants Low Taxes. He will be a great Governor and has my full and total Endorsement!”
This endorsment certainly helped DeSantis secure a solid victory over his main opponent, Adam Putnam, the former Commissioner of Agricultural for the State of Florida. (Putnam ultimately got 36.5 percent of the vote). Considering DeSantis is running in a state that voted for Trump in the 2016 election, this promotion also gives him an advantage in the general election for Governor.
In the Democratic Party’s race, things went very differently. The candidate predicted to win, Gwen Ghram, Former U.S. Representative and daughter of Governor Bob Ghram, lost to Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by only 3 percent. Gillum spend little on advertising and campaign events, but, like DeSantis, had a key endorsement, this time from prominent Democratic Bernie Sanders.
“Andrew has never backed down from a fight, including beating the NRA and standing up against xenophobic politicians,” said Sanders at a rally in Tampa Bay, “Andrew Gillum will set a new course for Florida- a governor who represents all the people and not just powerful special interests.”
Whether this support, in a state the voted for Clinton in the Democratic Primaries in 2016 by 30 percentage points, will help Gillum long-term remains to be seen, it did appear to help him in the primaries, as the victory over Ghram represents a significant shift in the Florida Democratic Party.
In the other races, the results were not as surprising. Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, ran for the position of U.S. Senator and easily beat his only opponent, Rocky De La Fuente, winning with 88.6 percent of the vote. He too was endorsed by Trump, but as Scott tries to distance himself from the President, the impact of this acolyte may not help him as much as it did with DeSantis. Scott’s opponent will be the incumbent Bill Nelson-a moderate who has done little to promote himself, and will most likely need to increase his publicity to stay in the fight.
As for the Representative seats, most were won with little competition and fanfare, such a stark contrast to the gubernatorial race which now has investments from national politicians.
Sadie Testa-Secca // Managing Editor