Republicans win big in Florida, but fail to sweep nationwide

Florida+Gov.+Ron+DeSantis%2C+his+wife+Casey+DeSantis+and+their+children+walk+on+stage+to+celebrate+victory+over+Democratic+gubernatorial+candidate+Rep.+Charlie+Crist+during+an+election+night+watch+party+at+the+Tampa+Convention+Center+on+Nov.+8%2C+2022%2C+in+Tampa%2C+Florida.+DeSantis+was+the+projected+winner+by+a+double-digit+lead.+Photo+courtesy+of+Octavio+Jones%2FTNS.

Tribune News Service

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his wife Casey DeSantis and their children walk on stage to celebrate victory over Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist during an election night watch party at the Tampa Convention Center on Nov. 8, 2022, in Tampa, Florida. DeSantis was the projected winner by a double-digit lead. Photo courtesy of Octavio Jones/TNS.

Brynn Schwartz, Senior Politics Editor

The 2022 midterm elections took place on Nov. 8. While the midterms were largely expected to result in Republican control of U.S. Congress, that largely did not occur. There is no apparent leader to take control of Congress nationwide, as they are still counting votes in certain states

It appears that a large driving factor in the lack of a “red wave” was younger voters; a CNN National House exit poll showed that voters under 30 leaned more democratic than older voters did Republican.

“This year’s results really motivated me to take my duties as a citizen seriously and vote when I am able to, so that I can also contribute to this huge part of our country’s democracy,” sophomore Isabel Lopez said.

Florida

However, Florida Republicans had clear, early victories in the midterms. The gubernatorial race was called by the Associated Press before votes were counted in the panhandle region; incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis swept Democratic former Gov. Charlie Crist with 59.4% of the vote to 40%.

Crist only won five districts in the state. He won in Leon County, which includes Tallahassee; Gadsden County; Alachua County, which includes Gainesville and the University of Florida; Orange County, which includes Orlando; and Broward County. Miami-Dade County flipped Republican, with DeSantis leading by 11 points with over 95% of the vote in. This is in direct contrast to the 2018 midterm elections, which DeSantis lost in Miami-Dade by over 20 points, and the 2016 presidential election that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won by 29 points.

“I feel like people are voting for the candidate that they ‘dislike the least,’” junior Maya Gordon said. “I think that [Crist] was a bad candidate. I feel like he didn’t have a strong enough personality to have actually won the election.”

Democratic Rep. Val Demings attempted to take on incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for his senate seat, but failed. She won every county that Crist won, as well as Palm Beach County. Miami-Dade, however, remained red in the senate race.

Republicans also succeeded in their attempts to keep Florida attorney general Republican and
gain control of Florida Agricultural Commissioner, previously the only position a statewide-elected Democrat held in Florida.

Republican Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson beat District 15 Miami Dade Democratic Executive Committeewoman Naomi Blemur for Florida Agricultural Commissioner. Republican incumbent Attorney General Ashley Moody beat Democratic challenger former state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court Aramis Ayala for Florida Attorney General.

More locally, Democrats largely won. The Associated Press called Florida Congressional District for U.S. House as Democratic Broward County Commissioner for District 8 Jared Moskowitz beat out Republican Joe Budd. The seat was open after Democratic former Rep. Ted Deutch resigned.

The School Board of Broward County went through another series of changes; the school board had already changed after DeSantis removed and replaced four BCPS School Board members in August.

Four out of the five members were replaced on Nov. 8. The new members are Rodney Velez in District 1, Jeff Holness in District 5, Brenda Fam in District 6 and Allen Zeman for District 8, an at-large seat. The new board members will be sworn in on Nov. 22.

Zeman faced off against former SBBC member Donna Korn, who was among the four removed by DeSantis. They originally competed in August and advanced to a runoff. The runoff was too close to call for several hours, but was called on the afternoon of Nov. 9.

Nationwide

It is unclear who will control the senate. Currently, the senate is evenly split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tiebreaker for Democrats. Democrats, in what appears to be a crucial victory for them, were able to flip a previously Republican-held senate seat in Pennsylvania, as Pennsylvania Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman is projected to beat Mehmet Oz.

“It can be seen that within local elections, there was large numbers of blue voters, along with the various seats that were flipped in the election,” Gordon said.

There are three senate seats that have not yet been called, one of which will advance to a runoff. Arizona and Nevada’s senate races are too close to call.

In Arizona, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is seeking re-election against Republican Blake Masters.There are around 400,000 ballots that still need to be counted in Arizona’s Maricopa County, which is the largest county in the state and typically leans Democratic. Of those 400,000, almost 240,000 of them are early ballots and 143,000 more are early ballots that need to be verified. The rest are made up of election day ballots or provisional ballots.

There are also outstanding ballots in Pima County, a county Kelly narrowly won in 2020. Pima County currently has 23,000 ballots from election day that need to be counted, with an additional 40,000 mail-in ballots. Mail-in ballots tend to lean Democratic.

In Nevada, Republican and former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt narrowly leads incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

The last key senate race is in Georgia, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock will face Republican Herschel Walker in a runoff on Dec. 8. This is not the first time Warnock faced a runoff, as he won in a runoff with former Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler on Jan. 5, 2020.

Georgia’s qualifications to avoid a runoff is to earn at least 50% of the vote. Warnock, though leading Walker, only achieved 49.4% of the vote.

The House of Representatives is also a narrow battle, though Republicans do lead Democrats in seats. Democrats previously held a slight majority in the house. Currently, Republicans have won 207 seats, with 15 flips, and Democrats have won 188, with four flips. A party needs 218 for a house majority.

The future appeared bleak for Democrats leading into the midterm elections, following an impending economic recession and increased calls for Republicans to get out and vote. However, the race for Congressional support ended up being a much closer call. Several political experts argued there was no “red wave” in the midterms and that Democrats, while possibly not keeping control of both chambers of Congress, were able to minimize their losses. It remains to be seen which party will emerge victorious in Congress, though it is clear that Republicans were successful in Florida, but lacked in a nationwide sweep of Democrats.