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Republican Governor Ron DeSantis speaks after winning reelection.- REUTERS
The popular Florida governor also made note of his historic victory during his address.
“We have rewritten the political map,” he said with his wife Casey, a cancer survivor, standing by his side. “Thank you for honoring us with a win for the ages.”
Crist gave his concession speech shortly after 8 p.m. and offered “good congratulations to Governor DeSantis on his re-election,” wishing him “only the best.”
The 44-year-old DeSantis burnished his conservative credentials and catapulted himself into the national political spotlight by becoming a thorn in the side of the Biden administration with his opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns, as well as mask and vaccine mandates.
“You can come to Florida and you can do what you want to do. You’re not going to be forced to show medical papers. You’re not going to be restricted. You’re not going to be mandated,” the governor told reporters at a news conference this past February as he welcomed tourists to the state.
DeSantis also harnessed the ongoing culture wars as he elevated his national profile, signing what critics have called the “Don’t Say Gay” law in March of this year.
The measure forbids the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation for kids in kindergarten through third grade. DeSantis said the law lets parents, rather than educators, decide when to talk to children about those issues.
“We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination,” he said at the time.
Backlash to the law came quickly from LGBTQ groups and from President Biden, who called it “hateful,” but DeSantis seemed to relish his role as an irritant to Democrats.
The governor also got into a very public spat with the Walt Disney Co. and signed a bill revoking its self-governing status when executives at the entertainment giant vowed to work to repeal the law.
And in September, DeSantis shipped two planeloads of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, the well-heeled Democratic vacation spot off the Massachusetts coast, as “part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”
Despite his pugnacious political style, DeSantis put partisanship aside and met with Biden when the president traveled to Florida last month to survey the damage after Hurricane Ian slammed into the southwest part of the state.
But there have been lingering questions about DeSantis’ ambitions beyond the Florida governor’s mansion.
In an October debate with Crist, DeSantis dodged whether he would serve a full four-year term if elected.
“I know that Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear: The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist,” DeSantis said.
In his victory speech on Tuesday, DeSantis emphasized that his ambitions remain lofty.
“We have so much left to do,” the governor said, “and I have only begun to fight.”
DeSantis touts ‘win for the ages’ as he and Rubio score big victories, shading purple Florida red
By Paul Steinhauser | Fox News
Incumbent Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at an election night party after winning his race for reelection in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, as his wife Casey listens. (AP)
DeSantis and Rubio crush their Democratic challengers in Florida, cementing GOP dominance
Florida was once the nation’s premiere swing state, the electoral battleground that in 2000 handed then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush the presidency with a margin of just 500 votes.
But after Republicans shellacked Democrats in Florida’s statewide elections for governor and senator on Tuesday, it’s pretty clear that the state has shifted from purple to red. Florida does not have a single Democrat holding statewide office.
“Thanks to the overwhelming support of the people of Florida, we not only won election, we have re-written the political map,” Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis proclaimed at his Election Night victory celebration. “Thank you for honoring us with a win for the ages.”
DeSantis wasn’t bragging.
DeSantis, who narrowly won the governor’s office in 2018, crushed his 2022 Democratic challenger, former GOP governor turned former Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, by close to 20 points, according to the latest results, topping then-Republican Gov. Jeb Bush’s resounding 13-point re-election victory in 2002.
It was a similar story in the state’s Senate race, with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio making history as the first Republican in the Sunshine State to win a third six-year term. Even though he was dramatically outraised and outspent by Democratic challenger Rep. Val Demings, Rubio won re-election by over 16-points, according to the latest vote count.
Fueling the GOP wave in Florida, the party’s increasing support from Hispanic voters, who are one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the state.
“It’s great to be here, gathered in the red county of Miami Dade,” Rubio touted in his victory speech.
Miami Dade County – with over two million residents, is Florida’s most populous – has long been a Democratic stronghold. But Rubio and DeSantis both carried the county on Tuesday.
Rubio, who’s Cuban American and is the state’s longest-serving Hispanic politician, is recognized as a driving force in Republican efforts to win over Spanish-speaking voters in Florida.
Former President Barack Obama narrowly carried Florida in the 2008 and 2012 elections, and former President Donald Trump won the state by a razor-thin margin in 2016. Thanks to the inroads Trump made in Miami-Dade in the 2020 presidential election, he widened his victory margin in the entire state, carrying it by roughly three and a half points over now-President Biden.
Longtime Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, a veteran of numerous presidential and statewide campaigns, noted that “Republicans have connected with voters on issues they care about, and Democrats are not talking about the concerns voters have on a day-to-day basis. That combined with the appeal to Hispanic voters has turned the tide in Florida from a purple state to a red state.”
For Democrats, prospects are bleak in Florida.