DeSantis wins Republican nomination for governor

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Impeach the president versus defund the Mueller probe. He has promised to suspend the death penalty in Florida; in July he called for the abolition of Ice, the customs and immigration enforcement agency; and he has been an outspoken critic of the gun lobby, priding himself on his F-rating from the National Rifle Association.

The list goes on and on.

In picking Gillum, Florida Democratic voters abandoned the traditional strategy of playing to the center, and took a hard left.

Democrats have not won the Florida governor's mansion since 1994.

How did this happen in purple state where top-of-the-ticket elections often are decided by razor thin margins?

Kevin Cate, a Gillum consultant, said the candidate has a ready answer for whenever the attacks start: "Andrew Gillum has been doing everything possible to root out corruption in Tallahassee", he said.

If elected, Gillum would be the first black governor of Florida. I wish white folks would stop staying this like it's some sort of special talent for Black people to be able to speak properly. They finally have their test case in Gillum, who is young, charismatic and unapologetically liberal. And Gillum now has the backing of two billionaires in George Soros and Tom Steyer - and expect the money to flow inside and outside the state on both sides as the general election kicks into high gear.

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Ron DeSantis, fresh off a Trump-endorsed victory in the Florida gubernatorial primary, was under fire Wednesday for using a "racist dog whistle", in a television interview about his opponent.

"That is not what Floridians want", DeSantis told reporters.

Yet while Trump gave DeSantis, 39, a huge boost, the congressman also benefited from frequent appearances on Fox News, where he defended Trump and advocated hardline conservative positions. He even introduced a bill to cut off funding for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. Nonetheless, it needs to be seen for what it is: a proxy for the 2020 presidential race; a proxy for the impeachment fight that is likely to come if Democrats win control of the House; and a referendum on whether a new approach to politics will work for the Democratic Party. His support by Trump helped him trounce Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who had a two-decade resume as a politician, by 20 percentage points.

The president said he had not yet heard Mr DeSantis's remarks but did congratulate the Republican candidate's party nomination victory on Twitter.

Salazar's background, however, could help Republicans hold onto the seat in a district where about three-fourths of the population is Hispanic but which favored Hillary Clinton by almost 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

There is no doubt about where the candidates stand, on Trump and a range of other issues. She also has been hit for denying taking political contributions from the sugar industry, which is a central focus for many Florida voters concerned about toxic algae. This is not an election for those who seek compromise.

Recent surveys seemed to indicate the race was tightening and that Putnam was within striking distance, but DeSantis ended up winning by a comfortable margin.

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