GOP’s DeSantis defeats Gillum in Florida governor’s race

Minnie Murray
November 8, 2018

"The polls might say the opposite, but Andrew Gillum really won".

He was a member of the House for a number of years and indeed a member of the leadership considered one of the most promising young politicians in the state.

Democrats did much better in heavily Democratic counties than they did four years ago when Scott beat former Gov. Charlie Crist, said University of North Florida political science professor Matthew Corrigan, who was part of The Associated Press team analyzing returns Tuesday night. Gillum, 39, is the mayor of Tallahassee, a husband, a father of three, a FAMU grad- and he's vying to be the Democratic candidate in Florida's gubernatorial race.

But what the party didn't expect was that Republican turnout would also spike as President Donald Trump ramped up his own campaign and stumped hard for Scott and DeSantis.

Exit polls showed that Gillum won more than six in 10 voters under the age of 45, but those accounted for just 25 percent of the electorate. Despite implications that DeSantis was racially insensitive - an idea he angrily disputed during a debate - he was able to win the state that Trump carried in 2016. He enjoyed support from President Trump throughout his campaign.

Wiles said a big question mark concerned how many independent voters would turn out and if they would break for any particular candidate. "I mean that's a lot of work", DeSantis said.

As governor, DeSantis will essentially be Trump lite. He signed the Dream Defenders' "Freedom Pledge", which states support for the group's broader agenda - but Gillum's campaign said the candidate was only expressing support for a pledge not to accept campaign contributions from private prison companies.

DeSantis gave up running for his congressional seat in order to focus on the race for governor.

With a razor-thin margin separating Senate candidates Rick Scott and Bill Nelson, Broward County - a Democratic bastion - was still counting votes Wednesday, with no idea how many are left.

Florida A&M student Jalen McClees said that regardless of the result, Gillum made him proud. Those issues, which were already bubbling up throughout the primary, were escalated by DeSantis when he went on Fox News a day after becoming the nominee to warn Florida voters not to "monkey this up" by electing Gillum.

Gillum said he opposes the group's calls for reducing spending on police and sanctioning Israel. Trump joined in, tweeting similar messages.

Racial divisions were highlighted throughout the campaign.

DeSantis' win represents an extension of a decade of trifecta Republican control of the swing state and a resounding win for Trump, who aggressively inserted himself into the race. Gillum has repeatedly maintained that he is not the target of the wide-ranging FBI investigation into Tallahassee's city hall and that he got the tickets from his brother.

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