Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum conceded Florida’s race for governor at 11 p.m. Tuesday. As a result, Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ron DeSantis has un-officially won the race to become Florida’s next governor.
DeSantis led the state with 4.02 million votes (50 percent of the votes) while Gillum earned 3.94 million (49 percent) with 99.6 percent of precincts report- ing, according to the Associated Press.
DeSantis said in his victory speech that he wants to come together and work with those who opposed his views.
“I don’t care if you were against me in the campaign,” he said. “I want to work with you to advance our common priorities. If we think that way, I don’t think that there’s gonna be limits to how much good we can do.”
The Florida gubernatorial race garnered international attention after Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum became the state’s first African-American Democratic gubernatorial candidate. How- ever, these results mean that Florida will have to wait a littlewhile longer to see its first black governor.
Gillum’s concession message to his supporters was simple: regardless of the results, he isgoing to continue to fight for whatis right and inspired the crowd to do the same.
“I want to encourage you not to give up,” he said. “I still plan to be on the front lines right alongside every single one of you when it comes to standing up for what we believe in…We still have to be willing to stand up every single day and demand our seat at the table.”
He continued, “I still believe that there are more of us who believe in what is common and what is decent and what is right. And I believe that in the long-run good always wins out over evil.”
Overall, this election was a battle of spirited liberalism versus unapologetic conservatism.
Some believed that choosing to run such a radically-Democratic campaign in a largely conservative state would be Gillum’s downfall. However, modern Florida is politically balanced and has changed from majority red to what political news outlets opt to call a “purple state.”
The confusion comes with Florida’s history of highly polarized politics, which is only exacerbated by the current political climate. Yet, as pointed out by Davis Houck, Florida State University professor and political advertising expert, the general climate of political polarization has had atleast one positive effect on this election.
“The climate or polarization has driven Floridians of both parties to the polls early,” Houck said. “We broke records daily with early voting turnout. Of course, that early voting enthusiasm is a direct function of who’s in the White House.”
With that in mind, many see DeSantis’ win as a victory for the spreading of bold conservatism in government, a view that leaves some delighted and others disappointed.
The 2016 presidential election wasproof that there is a significant segmentof America that feels ignored by growing modern liberalism. DeSantis made clear efforts to appeal to this demographic.
Not only did he tout his endorsement from President Trump, but he also promised to combat judicial activism by appointing constitutional conservatives to the Florida Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, this tactic caused him to lose support from Republican “Never-Trumpers” who refuse to vote for any Trump-aligning candidates. It also attracted unwanted support from the an- ti-semitic white supremacist group, The Road To Power, which he denounced.
In the end, neither of these setbacks were enough to deter more than 4 million Florida voters from pegging Desantis as the best candidate. And now that the race has ended, Florida residents are waiting to see what he will bring to the state in these next four years.