Republicans nationally went into Tuesday’s elections hoping for a red wave.
It didn’t happen.
But in Florida, Republicans didn’t simply deliver a red wave. They obliterated Democrats up and down the ballot, putting to rest any notion that Florida is a purple state.
It wasn’t a surprise that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis dispatched Democrat Charlie Crist. But by more than 19 percentage points?
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., crushed Democrat Val Demings by more than 16 points.
Most of the attention in the aftermath focused on DeSantis, who has long been coy about speculation he will run for president in 2024. But the way DeSantis — and, by extension, Florida Republicans — won Tuesday will only cause the speculation to build.
Look no further than former President Donald Trump for evidence. Before the election, he tagged DeSantis with the nickname “Ron DeSanctimonious” and released a screed Thursday criticizing DeSantis.
Hmm. Think Trump sees DeSantis as a threat to his hopes of returning to the White House?
With First Lady Casey DeSantis at his side, DeSantis appeared on election night before a boisterous crowd at the Tampa Convention Center and said, “I have fought the good fight.”
“And so today, after four years, the people have delivered their verdict: Freedom is here to stay,” DeSantis said to a roar of cheers.
Maybe even more remarkable was Rubio’s margin of victory over Demings, an Orlando congresswoman who appeared to be Florida Democrats’ best hope this year. Rubio won in 61 of the 67 counties, almost duplicating DeSantis’ wins in 62 counties.
“After tonight, the Republican Party will never be the same, and that’s a great thing for America, because this is a party made up of people from every color, every race, every ethnicity, men, women — yes men and women, that exists,” Rubio said, making a reference to transgender people. “You know what we call people who are Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, men, women, come from other countries? You know what we call them in Florida? We call them Americans.”
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