Blake Burman joined the FOX Business Network (FBN) as a Washington correspondent in April 2015. But even before that, Burman was well known in Florida for his work at WBBH in Fort Myers and WSVN in Miami where he covered politics.
The stakes are high in Florida with a lot on the line in the gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and congressional races. Sunshine State News caught up with Berman to get his take on what’s at stake on Tuesday.
SSN: Florida is seeing the lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade and record high tourism. Despite that, economic issues are playing a smaller role than they have in recent Florida elections. Why is that the case?
Burman: This mirrors what we have been seeing all over the country. Healthcare is a major issue for Democrats while immigration is a major issue for Republicans. You see this in the latest FAU poll, which shows the two biggest issues for Florida voters are healthcare (31 percent) and immigration (24 percent). It's been interesting to watch this play out, as normally the economy and safety/foreign policy register as top issues.
SSN: Florida will be on center stage on Election Night. Do you think the gubernatorial and the Senate race will offer any insight on Florida’s role in the 2020 elections?
Burman: No matter what happens on Election Day, Florida will still be a major force in the 2020 race. At the end of the day, 2020 in Florida will be about President Trump vs. TBD. The governor and senators will have little sway at that point.
SSN: What do you see as the challenges the next governor of Florida will face?
Burman: If Ron DeSantis is the next governor, he will have to make the transition from being one of many in Washington to the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee. That alone will be a challenge. If Andrew Gillum is the next governor, he will have to go from being the mayor of a town of about 200,000 to a state in which the population is about 100 times that number. There will be challenges for each, but I think that rings true for any first time governor who has to make that jump.
SSN: Some of the leading members of the Florida congressional delegation like Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the dean of the Florida delegation and the first woman to lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman Dennis Ross, part of the House leadership team, are retiring. Who do you see stepping up in the Florida delegation when the smoke clears on Election Day?
Burman: It depends largely on who controls Congress. At this point, the House appears more in play than the Senate. If Republicans continue to control the House, the power structure as it relates to committee assignments would largely stay the same. But if Democrats take the House, that would obviously shake that whole component up, and we'll see then who might climb the power ladder. If Rick Scott wins his race, he will obviously be one to watch, as we will have to see then how he fits in to the fold.
SSN: What issues flew under the radar in Florida and across the nation this election cycle?
Burman: I'll answer this in a different way, as it’s something I've focused on. I'll go with tax cuts. Republicans hoped that when Americans started seeing more money in their paychecks come February, that would eventually help them in a political way come November. However, the polling suggests that hasn't been the case, and now we are even seeing President Trump float this new idea of a second round of tax cuts for the middle class. So, in a sense, the tax cuts have gone "under the radar," but in a way I don't think Republicans were hoping.