@ Me Next Time: Andrew Gillum responds to Trump's Twitter dig

Nora Nguyen
August 29, 2018

The political establishment in both parties had a bad night in Florida's high-profile race for governor. President Trump endorsed DeSantis.

Putnam, in his concession speech, said he will help rally support for DeSantis this November.

DeSantis made his allegiance to Trump the central theme of his race, airing a campaign ad in which he urged his toddler daughter to "build that wall" with toy blocks.

Putnam carried almost 37 percent.

Facing off in the Democratic gubernatorial primary were former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, billionaire Jeff Greene, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando-area businessman Chris King.

"He represents the future in many ways", Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez, a former state representative, told The News Service of Florida at Graham's election-night watch party.

Gillum came from behind in a crowded and diverse Democratic field.

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Among those on the GOP Senate ballot in the state was former state Sen. "Voters have an appetite for a candidate who is going to reflect them".

The race is already one of the most expensive in the country.

The 86-year-old man known nationwide as Sheriff Joe, who personifies the tough immigration policies that define the modern-day Republican Party, may never serve in public office again after his loss Tuesday. He also benefited from a well-financed Get Out the Vote operation. Florida voters legalized medical marijuana in 2016 after coming up short two years earlier.

Also seen as having moved from safe to vulnerable is incumbent GOP congressman Brian Mast in Florida in the 18th District, which comprises a patch of coast north of Palm Beach.

DeSantis staked most of his campaign efforts on the president's endorsement, and it earned him an easy victory in the GOP primary.

The contest could be critical to the balance of power in the Senate in November.

Fox News projected the victory at approximately 8:30pm Tuesday evening, with sitting Governor Rick Scott -faced with term limits- winning the GOP nomination for the Senate.

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McSally wasted no time taking on her Democratic opponent, calling the race "a choice between a doer and a talker, between a patriot and a protester". The conservative Koch network has identified the Senate seat as a top target, and outside groups on both sides are expected to dump millions more in the contest.

With a net worth of more than $232 million, Scott can draw on his wealth to help fund his campaign. Democrats aren't so lucky. No problems were reported elsewhere in the state.

The Democratic primary featured a crowded and diverse crowd, and it was too early to call a victor as polls closed across the state. And he now becomes the second black gubernatorial nominee in the South, along with Georgia candidate Stacey Abrams, whose nomination in that neighboring state has energized many liberals.

The nominations, of course, do not mean the candidates will continue to re-write history.

Gillum relied on a grass roots campaign and the support of the left wing of the party. Indeed, in all three cases, the candidates were backed by Sanders. Bernie Sanders, and financial backing from billionaires Tom Steyer and George Soros.

Tuesday's primary set the stage for what will be one of the most closely watched races in the country, as Democrats try to flip the governor's mansion after being shut out of power for almost two decades.

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