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Democratic Momentum Fails to Materialize, DeSantis & Republicans Deliver  

FL Channel screen shot of DeSantis. Copy reads election 2020, FLorida Repubicans deliver
Screen shot: FL Channel, Observer graphic

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Although all 120 Florida House seats were on the ballot, Republicans never feared Democrats would imperil their 73-47 advantage in Tuesday’s election.

Florida Democrats, for their part, kept 2020 expectations modest, hoping to replicate their 2018 mid-term performance when they flipped five Florida House seats and claimed momentum heading into the general election.

That momentum failed to materialize for Democrats, especially in south Florida, where the conservative Cuban community in the Miami-Dade area rallied Republicans to a record turnout while Democrats failed to fully mobilize anticipated votes from blue precincts.

Those two factors in south Florida essentially gave Donald Trump Florida’s 29 electoral votes in a 3% statewide victory – a blowout by Sunshine State standards – and cost the Democrats two Miami-Dade congressional seats as well as two Democratic-held Miami-area seats in the state House and one in the state Senate.

Overall, Republicans flipped five House seats and will head into the 2021 legislative session with at least a 78-42 advantage in the House, three seats shy of veto-proof majority, and a 24-16 majority in the Senate.

In the Tampa Bay area’s 69th House District, which spans Pinellas County from Redington Shores to parts of St. Petersburg, Republican challenger Linda Chaney upset Democratic incumbent Jennifer Webb with about 52.5% of the vote and all precincts reporting by Wednesday morning.

In Sarasota County, Republicans won the only competitive race mounted by Democrats in the deep red region when Fiona McFarland defeated Democrat Drake Buckman to win back a seat Democrats won in 2018.

Republican Dana Trabulsy unseated Rep. Delores Hogan Johnson in St. Lucie County’s 84th House District. Republican Tom Fabricio defeated incumbent Democrat Rep. Cindy Polo in the 103rd House District in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and Republican Demi Busatta Cabrera defeated Democrat Jean-Pierre Bado in Miami-Dade County’s 114th House District to win a seat held by Democrat Rep. Javier Fernandez, who ran for the Senate and lost Tuesday.

More than 11 million Floridians cast ballots in Tuesday’s elections, with turnout early Wednesday estimated by the Florida Division of Elections (FDOE) to be 77%.

Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed victory in the presidential, congressional and legislature elections Tuesday night on behalf of the state’s Republican Party.

“I am proud to announce that Florida has once again delivered for President Donald J. Trump and that Florida Republicans will retain control of both chambers of the Florida Legislature,” he said. “Tonight’s results are the culmination of our efforts to drive historic Republican voter registration, mobilize a grassroots get out the vote initiative, and raise more than $20 million to support President Trump’s campaign, as well as congressional, legislative and down ballot races.”

“This year, progressive groups and liberal billionaires targeted the Florida House with tens of millions of dollars. They showed up pushing their out of state agenda on Florida voters. And tonight Floridians sent them packing. Tonight was an unprecedented win for House Republicans,” said Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, the incoming House Speaker who was reelected by more than 61% of the vote in his 65th House District race against Democrat challenger Kelly Johnson.

“Against all the odds and the predictions,” Sprowls said, “we proved that the best way to stand up to a bully is to fight back. Tonight we won big and received a mandate from the voters to continue to stand up for Floridians and Florida values.”

This piece appeared in the The Center Square and was reprinted by the Columbia County Observer with permission or license. Images and layout added by the Observer.

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