DeSantis has pretty much had his way with the state Cabinet and Legislature during the past few years.
But the Cabinet, House, and Senate became even more Republican in Tuesday’s elections, with the GOP easily winning races for attorney general, agriculture commissioner, and state chief financial officer and grabbing “supermajorities” in the Senate and House.
With Republican Wilton Simpson set to replace outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in January, Democrats will not have a statewide elected official for the first time in modern history. On the Cabinet, Simpson, who won by almost 19 percentage points, will join Attorney General Ashley Moody, who won by 21 points, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who won by 19 points.
The supermajorities that Republicans won in Senate and House races are important for procedural reasons. Without getting into the weeds, the supermajorities will basically close off ways that Democrats might be able to block or slow down Republican plans.
The GOP won almost every battleground legislative race Tuesday. The highest-profile races were in the Senate, where Democrats focused on five seats in North Florida, Central Florida, Hillsborough County and Miami-Dade County. Republicans won all of those seats by at least six points.
Thanks, at least in part, to a controversial redistricting plan that DeSantis pushed through the Legislature in April, the GOP also added four U.S. House seats Tuesday. Those wins could be critical if, as expected, Republicans wind up with a slim majority in the U.S. House.
For Florida Democrats, the across-the-board losses put an exclamation point on how far they have fallen since the 1990s. Republicans have won every gubernatorial race since 1998 and have fully controlled the Legislature since 1996.
State Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, released a statement Wednesday that said Republicans have “played the long game: prioritizing and investing in a statewide infrastructure with real depth and breadth, drawing favorable maps, implementing consistent, concise messaging — and it’s paid off as they have gained control at every level of government.”
“Meanwhile, Democrats have taken large swaths of the electorate for granted, chased the ‘shiny object’ of the day from a messaging standpoint — oftentimes landing on disjointed, tone-deaf themes — empowered the same few consultants despite loss after loss, and failed to build a sustained presence and organization in communities across the state,” Jones said.