Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis threw a coming-out party masquerading as a victory party Tuesday night.
He won reelection in a trouncing of Democrat Charlie Crist. With 80 percent of the votes counted at posting time, DeSantis leads 58 percent to 41 percent. The landslide contrasts with the 2018 gubernatorial election, in which DeSantis won by less than half of a percentage point. In his competent governance in response to Hurricane Ian, stand against woke corporations and schools, and independent approach toward COVID, Florida’s governor clearly gained converts.
His opponent became the first person in the history of Florida to lose in a run for statewide office as a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent. DeSantis hopes to become the first politician from Florida to win a run for nationwide office.
His coattails helped at least four Republicans to pick up Democrat seats: John Rutherford in Florida’s 5th District, Cory Mills in Florida’s 7th District, Anna Paulina Luna in Florida’s 13th District, and Brian Mast in Florida’s 21st District. They also helped Sen. Marco Rubio win reelection, though he probably wins on his own minus DeSantis. More startlingly for Democrats, Miami-Dade County, traditionally a Democrat stronghold, predominantly Hispanic, and the most populous county in Florida, voted Republican.
In other words, DeSantis looks like the big winner by painting blue seats and blue counties red. A state considered the consummate purple state when it gave former President George W. Bush a razor-thin victory in 2000 looks as red as most other states in the South.
Another politician now hailing from Florida dismissed him over the weekend as “Ron DeSanctimonious.” He looks more like Ron DeSantaClaus to Florida Republicans.