Republican Ron DeSantis defeats Andrew Gillum in Florida gubernatorial race

Cheryl Sanders
November 8, 2018

Ron DeSantis has won the race for the governorship of Florida, defeating his Democratic opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

DeSantis' win was a crushing blow for Democrats, who had pinned their hopes on Gillum making history as the state's first black chief-of-state and recapturing the governor's mansion for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.

Democrats scored big victories on Tuesday in governor races in MI and Kansas, U.S. states that voted for Republican President Donald Trump in 2016, while the hotly contested gubernatorial elections in Georgia and Florida remained too close to call.

While much of the elections' focus was on which party would win control of the U.S. Congress, Republicans and Democrats were battling across the country for state-level power, including in three dozen governors' races.

Democratic strategist Steve Vancore also said Florida tilts toward Republicans in statewide races. DeSantis offered few specifics on how he would govern Florida, other than to say he would continue the economic policies of current GOP Gov. Rick Scott with low taxes and few regulations.

Back in August, Gillum made history by winning Florida's Democratic primary for governor. Hill, who owns a home in Florida and is registered to vote there, flew back to the state from California on October 21 in order to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum in the 2018 midterm elections, as she revealed on social media.

Gillum conceded the race at about 11 p.m., three hours after polls closed in the state's Panhandle and after nearly all the votes had been counted in heavily Democratic South Florida. All told, Democrats had flipped at least seven Republican-held governorships without suffering any losses as of early Wednesday morning. "I still plan to be on the front lines alongside every one of you when it comes to standing up and fighting for what we believe in".

The former GOP congressman spent weeks explaining the remark, maintaining it had nothing to do with race, but rather his belief that Gillum would hurt Florida's economy.

Republicans controlled 33 governors' mansions and two-thirds of state legislative chambers going into Tuesday. With 99% reporting, Nelson earned 4,039,498 votes - over 42,000 more votes than Gillum.

DeSantis ran a campaign marred by racism, which began with his praising the economy and saying Gillum would "monkey this up" if elected governor. This race was supposed to be a blueprint for how Democrats could pull left on economics and cultural issues and win in swing states.

Democrats have cast more than 2.1 million ballots.

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