Ron DeSantis was re-elected governor of Florida for a second term, bolstering his chances of challenging former President Donald Trump for the presidency in 2024.
According to the Associated Press, the Republican governor defeated Democratic candidate Charlie Crist by a margin of 59% to 40% in the third most populous state. It is estimated that 88% of the votes were counted.
DeSantis, 44, hasn’t indicated whether he’ll run for president in 2024 and dodged questions about it during his debate with Crist. Nonetheless, he has consistently emerged in surveys as GOP voters’ chosen standard-bearer if Trump decides not to run for a third term. DeSantis also has the backing of major fundraisers, including billionaire Citadel founder Ken Griffin.
Outgoing Senate President Wilton Simpson was chosen agriculture commissioner on Tuesday, while Ashley Moody was re-elected attorney general, as was Jimmy Patronis as state chief financial officer.
The three Republicans were largely predicted to win because they outspent the Democrats in fundraising, and the state Democratic Party paid no attention to the elections. Simpson beat Naomi Blemur, Moody beat Aramis Ayala, and Patronis beat Adam Hattersley.
The important thing to remember is that we are choosing individuals to represent us, the people, amid all this excitement, the pundits, the acrimony, the advertisements, and the propaganda. Moody told supporters just before the vote closed Tuesday.
Despite the races being overshadowed by campaigns for governor and a U.S. Senate seat, the contenders did not debate. Simpson, who served as Florida Senate President for the previous two years and owned an egg farm in Trilby, will take over as Agriculture Commissioner in January, succeeding Nikki Fried, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic primary for governor this year.
Floridians demonstrated to the rest of the nation that common sense is bipartisan by rejecting socialism, woke ideology, and economic ignorance originating from Washington, Simpson said Tuesday night in a prepared statement.
From 2011 through 2019, the Cabinet was entirely Republican, working alongside then-Gov. Rick Scott.
Fried, on the other hand, was elected in 2018. She repeatedly sparred with Gov. Ron DeSantis after taking office in January 2019, and she is the sole Democrat elected statewide.
Meanwhile, Patronis and Moody have consistently backed DeSantis, with Patronis claiming in campaign literature to be a “member of Gov. DeSantis’ cabinet.”
Moody had earned 60 percent of the vote, as indicated by the state Division of Elections website, while Patronis and Simpson each had around 59 percent.
DeSantis and former President Donald Trump both endorsed the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Democrats had little money and much less visibility.
In the face of a statewide Democratic collapse, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio cruised to victory Tuesday night.
Republican Rep. Val Demings vastly outspent Rubio, but his victory came as no surprise to political observers from both parties, who point to the challenging headwinds Democrats faced, Florida’s increasing rightward drift, and the long and strong coattails of Ron DeSantis’ juggernaut campaign.
Blemur, a Miami native and the first Haitian American to be a major-party candidate for a Cabinet position, lost party support just before the August primary election due to previous anti-abortion and homophobic social media comments. On October 28, she sent an email protesting the treatment she received from party leaders.
Despite receiving support from more than half of registered Democratic voters in the Florida primaries, some in the party still refuse to recognize her as the rightful nominee or offer my campaign the generous support other party candidates receive, Blemur said in a statement.