Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) is projected to narrowly defeat progressive Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) Tuesday and will become the next governor of Florida following a grueling campaign season.
Gillum conceded the race on Tuesday night around 11 p.m.
DeSantis (pictured above left) will replace Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who could not run again due to term limits. Gillum (above right) was fighting to become the state’s first African-American governor.
In the months leading up to Election Day, DeSantis struggled in the polls, according to the RealClearPolitics (RCP) polling average.
DeSantis trailed Gillum by 2.5 to 4.5 percentage points until mid-October, when just one percentage point separated the two candidates. The RCP’s final polling average ahead of Election Day showed Gillum leading DeSantis by 3.6 percent.
Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis makes remarks after he was projected to defeat Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in Florida’s highly competitive governor’s race. https://t.co/vLvu9Z7Jvm
(Courtesy: WOFL) https://t.co/mZ9lgv7N6N
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 7, 2018
Gillum is widely viewed as a progressive because he supported impeaching President Donald Trump, abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, and backing taxpayer-funded Medicare for All, including illegal immigrants.
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Gillum was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and enjoyed support from socialist New York congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described Democratic socialist and first-time political candidate who defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the heavily funded chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Gillum himself pulled off a stunning upset primary victory against former Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.).
Former President Barack Obama also threw his star power behind Gillum when he campaigned for him during a rally in Miami this past Friday.
Trump, who carried Florida by a razor-thin margin of 1.2 percentage points during the 2016 presidential election, fervently backed DeSantis’ gubernatorial bid in the swing state — even endorsing DeSantis during the GOP primary. DeSantis has been one of the House’s most vocal Trump supporters and portrayed himself as being in lockstep with Trump’s “Make American Great Again” agenda.
Trump also harshly criticized Gillum on Twitter repeatedly.
Some of Trump’s critics even called him a racist for the criticism contained in a tweet from October 29, in which the president wrote, “In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor — and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!”
In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor – and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
Trump did not mention Gillum’s race in that message — and the tweet was based on reports that the FBI is investigating possible corruption in Tallahassee.
"We let our voices be heard. We didn't shrink from the challenges. We didn't shrink from power, we spoke truth to power," Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate @AndrewGillum said in his concession speech tonight. #Midterms2018 pic.twitter.com/IQhy1uGeHa
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) November 7, 2018
DeSantis said during a rally on October 31, “I’m the only guy who can credibly say I’m not under investigation for corruption.”
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