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Politics

November Surprise! Ron DeSantis Is Florida's 46th Governor

November 6, 2018 - 11:45pm
Ron and Jeanette DeSantis and family
Ron and Jeanette DeSantis and family

Few beyond the Republican Party of Florida believed former congressman Ron DeSantis could overcome the raucous Democratic and media stampede or the millions of out-of-state dollars behind it. But by 9:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, when the numbers no longer added up -- when there were fewer than 120,000 ballots uncounted in the state's blue counties -- it was over.

Sunshine State News called the election for Republican DeSantis on Twitter at 9:40 p.m.

Republicans consider it a victory for fiscal restraint and the continuation of Florida's 20-year tradition of free-market principles. It also is a win for the rule of law -- the Florida Supreme Court had ruled the three retiring justices should be selected by the incoming governor, not the current governor. DeSantis has said he will favor constitutionalists, not judicial activists to replace Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis or Peggy Quince.

RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia had told SSN throughout last week he was confident Republicans would turn out in record numbers on Election Day.

“It’s a huge night for Ron DeSantis and the people of Florida,"Ingoglia said Tuesday night. "The supposed blue wave hit a BIG RED WALL. Once again, Floridians cast their vote to keep Florida RED, choosing prosperity over empty promises, free markets over big government and a veteran over a career politician.  

"Let’s be clear," he continued. "This election was as much a mandate to continue the path our state is on, as it is a wholesale rejection of the policies that Andrew Gillum was espousing on the campaign trail. The RPOF congratulates Governor-elect Ron DeSantis on his well-deserved victory and we look forward to working with his Administration to continue creating jobs, strengthening our economy and securing a more prosperous future for all Floridians.”

Tonya Fitzpatrick of Port St. Lucie admitted she was gloating in the aftermath of the results. "I have to wonder how many leftist media reporters have egg on their faces and had their stories written with Gillum as the winner. It's 'Dewey Defeats Truman' with a Florida twist." 

DeSantis' win was also a victory for President Donald Trump who virtually hand-picked him and supported him through the campaign.

If issues are what help voters decide, then the president cast a long shadow over the Sunshine State. Half of the voters told pollsters the candidates' opinion of the president was a factor in who they voted for. Gillum called for the impeachment of Trump.

DeSantis featured Trump and his policies in his commercials and appearances. He promised to support the president. 

Gillum promised to lead the resistance against Trump's policies.

His opponent Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, was the first black major-party gubernatorial candidate in Florida’s history, and his shocking win in the Democratic primary was in large part thanks to the enthusiasm of black voters, who make up a solid third of the Democratic base in the state.

The race was ugly from start to finish, with the Gillum camp implying DeSantis is a racist and the DeSantis camp claiming Gillum was using false racist attacks against him as an opportunity to fire up his base.

DeSantis didn't help himself. Days after winning his primary, he made what was perceived as a racially coded remark, warning voters not to “monkey up” the election. 

And the same week Gillum won the Democratic nomination and made history, Florida voters started receiving calls featuring racist imitations of Gillum and apparently funded by a neo-Nazi group based in Idaho to which DeSantis bore no association.

The DeSantis campaign called the white supremacist attacks on his black opponent “appalling and disgusting.” But that wasn’t the end of it. In late October, another racist robocall -- which begins with a Gillum imposter saying “I is the negro Andrew Gillum” -- reportedly started reaching Florida voters.

The racial overtones in a campaign between a historic black Democratic nominee and a Trump-loving Republican became unavoidable. Florida, where elections can swing by a point or two, is 17 percent black and 26 percent Hispanic.

Gillum’s energy and his embrace of a progressive policy platform have been winds at the candidate’s back -- at least, to a point. Polling showed him holding a consistent advantage over DeSantis throughout, though it began narrowing toward the end of the campaign.

There is an FBI inquiry hanging over Gillum, an investigation into corruption in the city where he has spent the past four years as mayor.

The alleged corruption is a labyrinthine scheme that involves the Tallahassee community development agency and some people close to Gillum. The mayor himself has not been publicly implicated, but the probe uncovered unusual stories, like Gillum taking trips to Costa Rica with his lobbyist friends and the mayor possibly attending a Broadway show of Hamilton with his brother and an undercover FBI officer. The undercover officer paid for the tickets.

DeSantis’ courting of Trump more than the Floridians he would govern, particularly in the early days of his campaign, gave him a slow start and an absence of visibility. The campaign never really picked up steam until veteran campaign operative Susie Wiles came on board.

DeSantis represented fiscal stability, a continuation of Gov. Rick Scott's winning strategies to build the economy, create jobs and establish the state as one of the most prosperous in the nation. 

Gillum received the support of Democrats with strong national profiles, like Bernie Sanders. His candidacy captured the imagination of progressives across the nation.  He received millions of dollars in donations from out-of-state billionaires like George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. 

And being a young, fresh face in a large state is always a sure way to get people speculating about your future political ambitions. Gillum campaigned on "using science" to replace red tide woes and state waterways' blue-green algae plague, on Medicaid expansion, on single-payer health care, increasing the minimum wage, raising starting teacher salaries to $50,000 across the board and hiking Florida’s corporate tax rate to pay for it.

He was DeSantis' polar opposite.

Democrats knew Gillum would have to battle attacks about the FBI probe and the Tallahassee crime rate throughout the campaign. DeSantis' battle, meanwhile, was ensnared in the dangers of having friends like Trump and white nationalists.

Governor's races in America in 2018 show the world who we are, political observers have said.

Gubernatorial elections Tuesday have been hyped as more important than ever. The winners affect the lives of millions of people in the 36 states and three territories where governor's races are being held. Political observers continue to remind us, one of these leaders could be president of the United States (17 previous presidents have been former governors).

Inside the Democratic Party, a battle is raging over both demography and philosophy. It all comes down to whether, in the Trump era, Democrats should nominate heterosexual white men with more moderate views -- who theoretically could more easily appeal to Republican-leaning moderates and independents. Or should Democrats nominate people of color, women and LGBT candidates who espouse strong progressive views and who might better motivate the Democratic base?

Florida made its choice, and in 2018 it almost paid off. It will be interesting to see where the Florida Democratic Party goes from here.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

HEY, FOLKS - VOTING IS ~O~V~E~R~!. Time to get over what you wanted or didn't want. This is the time to start WORKING TOGETHER to make Florida an even greater state! We should ALL look for Common Solutions to problems. In two years, let's try to be more unified...

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle! Who? Guess there are still a few more old white farmers, rednecks, hillbillies, cowboys and holy rollers in Florida than urbanites and suburbanites! Gillum only lost by 58,000 votes out of 8,200,000 votes cast ... and the "others" on the ballot siphoned off about 110,000 votes ... so, pretty close ... but no cigar. Florida's well on its way to becoming another Texas. Too bad. The real win for the Democrats in this election was taking over the U.S. House ... giving the party an actual say in governance ... and giving the Democrats an opportunity to exercise some real restraints on the absurd excesses of Trump. That's a significantly good thing! Hopefully, Gillum, King, Graham and some effective political activists and organizers can build on the Democrats 49% of the vote!

..people get the government they deserve..we will see if all who voted for the DeSantis and Scott team will be happy with their slash and burn mentality . De Santis needs to thank Ms Slash and burn ,,Susie Wiles for getting his campaign back on track with attack ..attack..attack.. unfortunately in typical Susie style it worked..give the devil his due..they won !!.. De Santis can go back to reading the art of the Deal to his kids..unfortunately it will be in the Governor's Mansion..Scott can escape the Red tide in DC We will see in the future who has the long term political better career ..mini Me Trump DeSantis or Gillum...Nelson is done.. but Scott and Little Marco will be Floraduh's flag bearers in DC...on to 2020

Let the Tallahassee indictments begin!

One thing is for sure. Florida is a microcosm of the rest of the country that is clearly divided. In probably, the closest race for Gov., and US Senator in Florida history, there is clearly change brewing in this state and country. I don't believe FL was ready for the extreme change that Gillum was espousing. That, coupled with the baggage he brought, I think was too much to overcome in this deep Red state. It is clear there was a blue wave nationwide, with the House falling by record numbers for the Dems. There will be no wall with the Dems in control of the House. There will be no radical immigration plan, and the future of the Presidency will be determined by Mueller and the House. One thing is for sure, in this divided state and country, the next Presidential election is sure to be a hoot. A lot of that will depend on if the Dems pick the right candidate to challenge Trump, something they clearly did not do in Florida... Stay tuned, it is sure going to be interesting and fun...

The "CHALLENGE" to America (simply put) are the quickly "CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS" of Illegally Invading Aliens that have been forcing their way into America and Europe (from Muslim countries, and compounded to a lesser degree [in "America's case"] by hispanic invading mobs from South America). The RESULT of this unchecked "illegal invasion" is the inevitable, and quick (within only one or two decades) and imminent corrupion of the "birthrate demographic change"; ultimately giving dominance to Muslim Religion ACROSS THE GLOBE. Muslims have long predicted this silent and total invasion of the world, "without a shot being fired". We are being "conquered by a more prolific birthrate"!.... (and we're totally oblivious to that fact !!!)----{"Readup" on "changing birthrate demographics" and their effect upon the world}

Didn't the Democrat voters know that Gillum is under investigation for accepting bribes ( Trips, tickets, hotels and more) by the FBI. Didn't the raciest Democrats know that Florida's capital crime increased dramatically under Gillum because of his friends around the city and state?

And don't the Republican voters know that Trump is under investigation for conspiring with the Russians to effect the outcome of the 2016 election in his favor ... AND ... obstruction of justice? Plus, at least nine states attorneys general have filed suits charging Trump with violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. And, of course, three of Trump's innermost circle have already pled guilty to or have been found guilty of committing federal crimes and are already on their way towards prison, just awaiting sentencing??? In the real world, suspicion of corruption in Tallahassee is no comparison to the rampant corruption of the Trump administration !!!

A "blue voting" dreamer... "Rationalization is the key to happiness" (even if it's built on 'falsehoods', as in your "case")... SO VERY happy over "2 year Representatives", when "6 year Senators" are now 'stacked' until the end of 2024... Trump will regain the House in 2020...... The difference between Democrats and Trump?!?... He plays "Chess"...and THEY...play "Checkers".................."CHECKMATE"!!!!!

Innocent until proven guilty, or did the Kavanaugh appointment teach you nothing. Also, its hypocritical to not vote for Gillum due to the investigation while simultaneously voting for Scott who oversaw a massive Medicare scam.

"Hillary Crying Towels, deloused, cleaned, pressed, and ready for re-use, available at any Democrat National Party political office in Florida, and across this NATION"! (For a nominal contribution to the "Clinton Foundation",... of course...)

No crying, Ace! In the real world, a lot of cheering ... a LOT ... for the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House and for the oversight they're going to be able to exercise on Trump and his collection of corrupt Trumpnuts. Trump the Chump is toast!

Florida voters made the right choices but only by a small margin. Lucky for the folks in the Florida State pension.

I wondered what that pop pop I was hearing around 10 pm tonight. Then it dawned on me , that's liberal heads of exploding! Seriously nice job Florida, you dodged a bullet this time.

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