Ron DeSantis wins Florida GOP primary for governor

Cheryl Sanders
August 29, 2018

"I believe in Trump's policies and while I don't love the way he opens his mouth too much, sometimes saying things that are not quite appropriate, I do believe that in his heart he really means well".

Now Florida Republicans are counting on a relatively untested candidate steadfastly aligned with Trump to continue the GOP's two-decade hold on the governor's mansion.

DeSantis defeated Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Tuesday and faces the Democratic challenger in the race to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott. He beat Putnam, who spent more than twice as much money and ran a robust, even nostalgic, grassroots campaign often featuring down-home picnics attracting big crowds sprinkled liberally with farmers sporting palm-sized belt buckles.

His decision sets up a showdown in the Democratic primary with Rep. Darren Soto, the first Florida congressman of Puerto Rican descent, who succeeded Grayson after he made an unsuccessful Senate bid in 2016. Marco Rubio shut down his presidential campaign and made a decision to run for re-election.

Alan Grayson, a liberal firebrand who ignited controversy during his previous tenure in Congress, has chose to run again for his old seat representing a district in Florida.

Elected to the U.S. House in 2012 as a Tea Party Republican, DeSantis was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, the uncompromisingly conservative and libertarian group derided by critics as the Government Shut Down Caucus. Coincidentally, Graham's daughter, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, is on the ballot and has been polling favorably.

Florida voters on Tuesday will select the nominees for governor, agriculture commissioner, attorney general, and several congressional seats.

Among the 47 percent of Democratic primary voters still planning to vote, Graham leads here as well with 31 percent while Gillum follows with 23 percent, Levine with 21 percent, Green with 10 percent and King with 3 percent.

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