GOP’s DeSantis defeats Gillum in Florida governor’s race

Republican Ron De Santis and Democrat Andrew Gillum fist-bump at their debate last month

While DeSantis owed his Republican nomination to Trump, Gillum won a crowded Democratic primary race with a significant boost from Vermont Sen. More than 550,000 people voted early in Miami-Dade, either by mail or in person, far more than the previous midterm election in 2014.

The win maintained the grip Republicans have had on the governor's office since Jeb Bush was sworn in in 1999, and DeSantis will have a chance to return the favor for Trump in 2020, when Florida figures to play a pivotal role in the presidential election. "All the way along this path", Gillum said.

But Republican Mike DeWine defeated Democrat Richard Cordray in OH, one of the highest-profile governor's races, according to an NBC News projection.

DeSantis also came under fire for speaking at conferences organized by conservative activist David Horowitz, who once said the country's "only serious race war" is against whites. "Just want to say, earlier this hour, uh, we showed a graphic of the Florida gubernatorial race".

"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.

Trump was heavily invested in the race, making two visits to the state in the final week of the campaign.

Florida's term-limited governor won a narrow victory for a U.S. Senate seat, flipping yet another seat to the GOP.

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Gillum told supporters in Wakulla that Tuesday is a choice between the "Trumpizing of America" and working together.

The race was the much-anticipated match-up of the ideological wings of each of the major political parties, with DeSantis representing the GOP base that backed Trump, Gillum representing the activist grassroots element of the Democratic Party.

In Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis was set to become the first openly gay man to be elected governor of a USA state, after NBC News projected him to win against Republican Walker Stapleton. "Republicans had a very strong candidate Adam Putnam, who is in the primary against DeSantis..."

Meanwhile, at Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Gillum conceded defeat around 11 p.m., saying to a crowd of supporters that he "could not be prouder of the way we ran this race". "I am not going to let the media smear me", DeSantis said.

Under Georgia law, if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff election.

Republicans said they cared most about immigration, then health care, then foreign policy.

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