Democrats chip away at GOP dominance in state governments

Howard TerryNov 08, 2018

In Florida, Democrat Andrew Gillum lost his attempt to become the state's first black governor, suffering a narrow defeat to Republican Ron DeSantis in a racially charged contest that drew national attention.

"This was from the beginning an extremely hard task", Gillum said. The Tallahassee mayor won his primary on a progressive platform but has drifted toward the center in the runup to the general election, posing with establishment figures like Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former President Barack Obama.

Exit polls showed that Gillum won more than six in 10 voters under the age of 45, but those accounted for just 25 percent of the electorate.

While much of the elections' focus was on which party would win control of the US Congress, Republicans and Democrats were battling across the country for state-level power. He enjoyed support from President Trump throughout his campaign. Instead of throwing all their efforts into election cycles, Olivia Bercow, a NextGen America spokeswoman, said Democrats should immediately get back to bench-building and registering voters.

Gillum also spoke to the crowd about the issues that caused him to run for office and said his message to Trump and DeSantis is clear, "The politics of hatred and separation have come to an end".

Polling has shown Gillum holding a consistent lead over DeSantis. Bill Nelson in his Senate race against Gov. Rick Scott.

In a series of posts to Twitter, President Donald Trump has been positive towards himself and his party, despite the loss in the house.

DeSantis tried to connect with working-class families by pointing out in campaign ads that his first job paid $6 an hour and that he later traded in his work boots for military boots, highlighting his service in Iraq.

DeSantis ran a campaign marred by racism, which began with his praising the economy and saying Gillum would "monkey this up" if elected governor.

The FBI has been conducting a probe of alleged public corruption in Tallahassee, and while Gillum has said he has been told he is not the target, Republicans used the investigation as a cudgel against him.

As governor, DeSantis has said he aims to stop illegal immigration, sign anti-abortion legislation into law, accelerate small business growth, restore the Everglades and improve classroom spending in order to retain and recruit teachers, among other things. Gillum supported far left positions such as abolishing ICE and establishing Medicare for All. Trump tweeted last week.

At the polls Tuesday, many voters said Trump's upset of Hillary Clinton and his support for DeSantis motivated them to cast ballots.

On the morning after, strategists and activists awoke to a crisis of confidence and a humbling acknowledgment that even as Democrats are winning in Wisconsin and Kansas, in Florida Republicans are always about 60,000 votes ahead.

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