Republican Ron DeSantis wins Florida governor election, CNN projects

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Republican Ron DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum to become Florida's next governor on November 6. Meanwhile, Republican Rick Scott, Florida's current governor, held a slim lead over incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson for a seat in the U.S. Senate, leading by 34,000 votes on Wednesday morning.

DeSantis, who attended Yale University and Harvard Law School, resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in September to focus exclusively on his gubernatorial bid.

Grammy-winning singer Rihanna is all in for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum receiving the last-minute support needed to help him become Florida governor.

As expected, statewide Democratic candidates fared well in South Florida, where the party dominates voter rolls.

But Florida Democrats' "itsy bitsy gains" -- offset in Florida by Gillum's loss and the possibility of Scott's defeat of Nelson -- came in a year in which Democrats regained control of the U.S. House and made inroads in state legislatures throughout the country, Vancore noted.

Republican candidate for Florida governor Ron DeSantis speaks during an event put on by the Police Benevolent Association in Palm Beach County, on October 3, 2018.

Part of the reason Gillum, who consistently led in polls, lost is that only two weeks before the midterm election, news broke that he had accepted tickets to see the Broadway play Hamilton from an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent posing as a real-estate developer. FiveThirtyEight predictions had showed Gillum 4.2 percent ahead of DeSantis on Election Day.

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In a race too close to call, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is up by the slimmest of margins against Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum (D).

But the Democrats were trailing in redder areas of the state.

Florida is the most populous of the battleground states that swing between the parties in presidential elections, but Republicans have controlled the governor's mansion for two decades.

"I promise you tonight that we are going to make sure every vote is counted", she said.

During his victory speech, DeSantis also acknowledged Trump's role in the campaign.

It was Trump's support, including a July endorsement rally in Tampa, that helped propel DeSantis past a better-funded and more widely known opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, in the August 28 Republican primary. "So ignore him and vote, Florida!" At the same time, more than 5 million registered voters didn't cast ballots this fall.

Gillum was favored by polls to win the state, thanks to his strong support from the African American community and young people.

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