Trump-Backed DeSantis Easily Secures GOP Governor Nod in Florida

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is surprise winner of Democratic nomination

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., won the Florida Republican gubernatorial nomination Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 9:28 p.m. | Buoyed by an endorsement from President Donald Trump, Rep. Ron DeSantis easily secured the Republican nomination for Florida governor Tuesday in the race to succeed GOP Gov. Rick Scott.

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, DeSantis led state Agriculture Commissioner and former Rep. Adam Putnam 56 percent to 37 percent, according to The Associated Press. 

DeSantis will next meet Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who scored a surprise victory in the Democratic primary. 

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Gillum led former Rep. Gwen Graham 34 percent to 32 percent when the AP called the race. 

DeSantis will be hoping to keep the GOP’s gubernatorial streak in Florida alive heading into November. Republicans haven’t lost a governor’s race in the Sunshine State since 1994. 

DeSantis pegged his primary win on his support from Trump, with whom he has voted in the House 94 percent of the time, according to a CQ analysis.

In his campaign commercials, he built a wall out of blocks with his young daughter, dressed his son in a “Make America Great Again” onesie and read Trump’s “Art of the Deal” as a bedtime story.

Scott, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson this year, easily won his Senate primary Tuesday night. 

Gillum’s win was a victory for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. He had the backing of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who headlined two rallies for him earlier this month. Gillum also received significant financial support from Democratic megadonors Tom Steyer and George Soros.

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