Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Republican Ron DeSantis Elected Florida Governor, Beats Andrew Gillum

Republican Ron DeSantis Elected Florida Governor, Beats Andrew Gillum

The day before the election, MSNBC aired a graphic that showed Gillum narrowly beating DeSantis, with 49.4 percent to his 48.8 percent.

New statistics released Tuesday by the state Division of Elections show that more than 2.7 million people voted early, and almost 2.5 million people have voted by mail.

Florida A&M student Jalen McClees said that regardless of the result, Gillum made him proud.

DeSantis defeated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in a race plagued by an FBI investigation and various allegations of racism.

The gubernatorial race was a study in contrasts: a straight-talking, unapologetically progressive, black nominee running against a Tea Party figure who released a campaign ad in which his young children built Trump's fabled border wall out of toy bricks.

Meanwhile, DeSantis, who's stepped down from US Congress to run in this race, told supporters in Orlando he has a "proven record of being the leader Florida needs". "We recognize that we didn't win this tonight". Additionally, his campaign cut ties with a volunteer during the final weeks of the race, after the volunteer was caught on video calling Florida a "cracker" state and saying the campaign was taking advantage of "white guilt".

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"You should have a governor who can work constructively with the administration in Washington to make sure Florida is getting what it needs", DeSantis said. "We're definitely going to win election day, so I'm looking forward to that", DeSantis said.

"I would like to thank the president for standing by me when it wasn't necessarily the smart thing to do", he said. He enjoyed support from President Trump throughout his campaign.

The race was among the most watched in the USA midterms, with Trump throwing his weight behind DeSantis and Gillum endorsed by former Democratic president Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

After winning the Republican nomination largely on the strength of Trump's endorsement, DeSantis turned to Trump's top 2016 Florida strategist to jump-start his general campaign when it stalled in September. Fox News' Decision Desk still has projected that race as too close to call.

But the Republican defended himself and his supporters against the racist label, while slamming his Democratic opponent for backing a major tax-hike proposal and wanting to expand government programs, including health care. "I don't think we want to stop our economic momentum", DeSantis said.

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