Gov: GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis is elected governor of Florida

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But though they looked set to retake the House from the Republicans, it became increasingly clear as results came in that they had not flipped as many seats and governorships as they had hoped to.

Congressman Ron DeSantis won the Florida governor's race tonight with 49.9 percent of the vote with 99 percent counted, defeating his progressive opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, in one of the mostly closely watched races in the nation.

In Georgia, Abrams, 44, was locked in a tight battle with Republican Brian Kemp, the state's secretary of state.

The Democrats also lost high-profile battles like in Texas, where senator Ted Cruz fended off a challenge from Democrat Beto O'Rourke, albeit by a thin margin.

Republicans, meanwhile, were eyeing a potential pickup in CT, traditionally a Democratic state, though Oregon Governor Kate Brown appeared set to prevail in what had been seen as a competitive race.

"I think the momentum is on our side", said DeSantis.

Republicans also scored a major victory in OH, where Mike DeWine, the state attorney general, defeated Democrat Richard Cordray, who served as the first director of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Gillum supports a ban on assault weapons and wants to repeal Florida's stand your ground law.

His victory signals the endurance of Donald Trump's Republican party in the nation's most populous swing state, dealing a punishing blow to liberals who were fired up around a potential rebuke of their state's support of the president nearly exactly two years ago.

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DeSantis, 40, a conservative former congressman, defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum, 39, the staunchly liberal mayor of state capital Tallahassee who was seeking to become Florida's first black governor.

DeSantis ran as a political outsider despite serving three terms in Congress and running for U.S. Senate in 2016 before dropping out of the race when Republican Sen.

Mechanical engineer Christopher Phelps, 30, said: "In order for Trump to lose in 2020, we needed pretty much for them (Nelson and Gillum) to both win". Even our senators aren't coming through.

DeSantis argued throughout the campaign that Florida's relationship with the president - whether he or she agrees with his policies or not- is important for the state.

"It's like having Trump here". He also said he intends to stay involved in Florida politics. It's always kind of a toss-up. But Democrat Christine Hallquist lost her bid to become the first openly transgender U.S. governor in Vermont, where Republican incumbent Phil Scott won re-election.

"It's like watching an actor who can film the whole scene in one take", she said. But the Republicans did so as well.

"People are going out and they're voting for something and not against. This election is going to be decided on election day, not just by the counting of the (votes) but by who votes", Rubio said.

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