Florida Election Results and What Comes Next

By Andrew Pantazi / Jax Tributary –   Last night, Gov. Ron DeSantis won big. In the last 154 years, no Democratic candidate for governor has suffered a loss as great as Charlie Crist did last night.

DeSantis grew his number of votes statewide by about 530,000 votes from 2018, and, even more remarkably, Crist shrank his number of votes by about 950,000 from what Andrew Gillum received four years ago.

This was especially true in Duval County where DeSantis only increased his vote share by about 2,400 votes, but Crist received 53,000 fewer votes than Gillum did.

In his statewide rout, DeSantis won traditional Democratic counties like Hillsborough and Miami-Dade. He even won Palm Beach, one of the most Democratic counties in Florida.

For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans hold every single statewide office — the governorship, the CFO, the agriculture commissioner, the attorney general and both U.S. Senate seats.

It’s still too early to know if Democrats or Republicans will win control of the U.S. House, but given how close those results look, any Republican congressional success is due in some part to DeSantis vetoing the Legislature’s congressional redistricting plan and pushing a pro-Republican gerrymander of the state.

On Tuesday, a federal court agreed to allow a lawsuit to move forward alleging DeSantis discriminated against Black voters when he vetoed a Jacksonville-only district that would’ve allowed Black voters to continue electing candidates of their choice. For the first time in 30 years, Jacksonville will no longer have a Black Democratic representative. For decades, Jacksonville has had one Republican and one Democrat in Congress, ensuring at least one of the city’s representatives would always be in the majority. But now the city will be represented by two Republicans, former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford and former Nassau County state Sen. Aaron Bean.

Across the state, Democratic turnout cratered, with significant downballot effects. Republicans won supermajorities in the Florida House and Senate, making it easier for them to waive rules to bring bills to the floor. And even local governments, like Palm Beach County, saw Republicans make major gains on county commissions.

Duval was no exception. After shifting to the Democrats in 2018 and 2020, DeSantis won Duval by 12 percentage points. That means Duval, while still to the left of the state as a whole, saw a significant move toward Republicans.

In the local special election for Jacksonville sheriff, DeSantis-endorsed T.K. Waters won by 10 points over Democrat Lakesha Burton. As soon as the election results are certified, Waters will take over the second-largest law enforcement agency in the state, and then he will have to run again for election in March for the regularly scheduled local elections.

Reggie Gaffney Jr. won a special City Council election to succeed his father, who he lives with. If a federal court accepts the City Council’s new district plan, Gaffney will have to move to run for re-election, assuming the court or the city’s top lawyer agrees to waive a residency requirement that normally requires candidates to live in a district for six months before an election.

For more info email Andrew Pantazi at andrew.pantazi@jaxtrib.org – or visit www.jaxtrib.org

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