Florida is holding several primary elections on Tuesday. Polls in most of the state closed at 7 p.m. ET and the last polls closed at 8 p.m. ET.
The match and bets:
Rep. Charlie Crist, a Republican and former Florida governor whose district includes St. Petersburg, soundly defeated Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried for the Democratic nomination to face Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
DeSantis has received a lot of national attention given speculation that he will run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Many believe he poses the biggest threat to another re-election campaign from former President Donald Trump.
But DeSantis first faces a bid to win another four years in the governor’s mansion in November.
Democrats don’t appear to have much hope of unseating DeSantis, who rose to prominence as a congressman defending Trump’s controversial presidency and then as governor after frequently fighting against the Biden administration’s COVID-19 policies.
Instead, they put more funding and energy into the US Senate race, where Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is up for re-election to a third term.
Rubio — a bilingual Cuban-American who ran for president in 2016 — touted a record of accomplishments in the upper chamber.
His Democratic challenger is Rep. Val Demings, a former police chief from Orlando who served as one of the House managers during Trump’s first Senate impeachment trial in early 2020 and has raised nearly $49 million for her campaign. He defeated former Florida House member Brian Rush. progressive William Sanchez, immigration attorney; and Richardo De La Fuente, who previously ran for the US House.
A poll by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Lab showed Demings ahead of Rubio, 48 percent to 44 percent.
And 25-year-old gun violence prevention activist Maxwell Frost won the hotly contested Democratic primary for Safe Democrat Orlando Demings’ congressional seat, putting him on track to become the first Generation Z member of Congress .
While Florida tends to be close in every contest, the outlook for Democrats is generally viewed as dim going forward. Florida Republicans have outnumbered Democrats in the state by 220,000 people.
A closely watched U.S. House primary race on the Republican side is for Florida’s 1st congressional district. The seat is currently held by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, a MAGA loyalist who is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department for having sex with a 17-year-old girl and paying her to travel with him. Gaetz has not been charged with a crime and has denied wrongdoing.
Gaetz’s primary Republican challenger is Mark Lombardo, a former FedEx executive and Marine Corps veteran.
Florida is a “closed” primary state – meaning residents must be affiliated with a particular party in order to vote for candidates within that party.
State legislative primaries
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