Midterms 2022: Who won, who lost and what now?

Midterms 2022: Who won, who lost and what now?

2022-11-09T13:26:18-05:00November 9th, 2022|Economy, Miami, Midterms 2022|

Writer: Jerrica DuBois

2 min read November 2022 — The results are in and Republicans made a sweep of the major elections in Florida. Incumbents Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez won their races by a landslide, Marco Rubio retained his U.S. Senate seat, and Ashley Moody held onto her post as the state’s attorney general. Locally, Maria Salazar was also reelected to her Miami Congressional seat for District 27. That leaves Florida Democrats with very little power heading into the next election cycle.

DeSantis defeated Democratic candidate Charlie Crist by the widest margin in a Florida gubernatorial race since 2002, when Jeb Bush won by nearly 13 points. With the governor at 59.4% and Crist receiving 40% of the vote, DeSantis also pulled off a Republican win in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County, another first for the party since Bush did it that same year. Even more telling of the impending Republican sweep, DeSantis also won the normally Democratic Palm Beach and Osceola counties.

“Florida was a refuge of sanity when the whole world went mad,” DeSantis said as he addressed the supporters at his election night party at the Tampa Convention Center. “We stood as a citadel for freedom for people across this country, and indeed across the world. We faced the task. We took the hit. We weathered the storms. But we stood our ground. We did not back down. We had the conviction to guide us and we had the courage to lead.”

The Republicans also now have an edge in sheer numbers. For the first time in political history, there are more Republicans than Democrats in Florida, with the GOP boasting a 320,000 voter registration advantage. Democrats are concerned that as DeSantis builds his national profile he will push for controversial policies. There is also the continual chatter surrounding a possible 2024 presidential run for the governor. He pointedly avoided responding to prodding from Christ on the topic during their debate.

No sitting Florida governor has ever run for the nation’s top office. According to the Florida Constitution, he would have to resign and the lieutenant governor would be authorized to replace him. That would also make Florida history, as Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez of Miami would become the first woman to hold the governor’s office in the state.

Presidential ambitions would ultimately put DeSantis head-to-head with former President Donald Trump, who is widely expected to announce a 2024 run to return to the Oval Office by mid-November. Tension between DeSantis and Trump is already evident. Over the weekend, the governor separately held his own reelection rallies throughout the state, as Trump did not invite him to a rally in Miami for Republican Sen. Rubio.

Rubio held on to his seat for a third term Tuesday night, defeating Democrat Val Demings 57.7% to 41.3%. This was a key win for the GOP as the party looks to regain control of the Senate, which currently has a slim Democratic majority due to Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote. As of press time, votes are still being counted in other key races to determine the final balance of power in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In facing Demings, Rubio had perhaps his toughest battle since he was first elected in 2010 after serving as the Florida House speaker. His campaign tied Demings to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden and criticized her on issues like spending, rising inflation and a crisis at the southern border.

Demings lodged a valiant campaign. She outraised Rubio in funding and played a prominent role in then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment. She was also on then-candidate Biden’s list of potential running mates, launching her into the national spotlight. She called Rubio to task on his poor attendance record, his backing of a national abortion ban and questioning his honesty. Demings claimed Rubio lied about her record and used buzzwords like “socialist” and “radical” to condemn her.

In the Florida attorney general race, Republican Moody won re-election over her opponent, Democrat Aramis Ayala. Moody claimed victory by a margin of over 20%, garnering 4,687,772 votes to Alaya’s 3,076,360 votes.

As Florida’s chief legal officer, the attorney general defends the state in civil litigation cases, issues formal legal opinions on state law and sits on Florida’s Clemency Board, among other duties. Moody faced criticism after signing on to a multistate case to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential elections in several states, which the U.S. Supreme Court declined. Ayala, also no stranger to controversy, raised eyebrows while serving as state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties after announcing her office would no longer seek the death penalty.

U.S. Rep. Salazar also won her bid to return to office and represent Florida’s 27th Congressional District against Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo in what was widely seen as South Florida’s most competitive congressional race. In the end, Salazar claimed 57.3% of the votes to Taddeo’s 42.7% in the campaign between two Latinas in Florida’s most Hispanic congressional district. Nationally, the race was considered a marker of how Hispanic voters feel about immigration and democratic systems. This was also an important seat for Republicans to keep as they fight for a majority in the House of Representatives. As of press time, some results have yet to be called.

Election night in Florida was certainly a good look for Republicans, and DeSantis sees that as a clear indication of the state’s position as a leader in where the country is heading. “Now while our country flounders due to failed leadership in Washington, Florida is on the right track,” DeSantis said.