A blockbuster primary in Florida and three-way fight in Arizona

Ben Davidson
August 29, 2018

The 39-year-old mayor of Tallahassee upset the establishment favorite, Gwen Graham, by embracing some of the same views on health care and immigration that thrust upstart NY congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into national stardom in a House contest in June.

The younger Gillum recalled getting free dental care from a mobile clinic that came through his neighborhood. Bernie Sanders, and financial backing from billionaires Tom Steyer and George Soros.

- U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.

Graham, who represented a conservative north Florida district in Congress, has been in the race the longest, and early on was considered the front-runner.

Trump, who captured the battleground state of Florida by just more than one percentage point in the 2016 White House race, tweeted his congratulations to DeSantis after the victory and said he would be "a fantastic governor".

Rep. Martha McSally defeated Kelli Ward and Joe Arpaio in Tuesday's Arizona Republican Senate primary, several media outlets are projecting. "No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own", Sanders said in a statement. "He wants to make Florida Venezuela", DeSantis said, adding that Gillum's tenure as mayor has been "absolutely disastrous".

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The Associated Press called the races for Gillum and DeSantis by approximately 9:15 p.m., Eastern time.

"The job of the governor of the state of Florida is to do what is in the best interest of the people of the state of Florida", Gillum said on Tuesday night.

Greene, a latecomer to the race who poured almost $38 million of his own money into the primary campaign, insisted that he was the only Democrat who could outspend Republicans. Greene on Monday canceled a planned election-night watch party at his Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa in Palm Beach. With the cloud of a federal investigation over his bid for governor, Gillum faced an uphill climb to advance to the fall's general election.

Republicans have dominated midterm elections in Florida for two decades. The outcome delighted a raucous crowd that gathered in Tallahassee to celebrate Gillum's victory. He's also been praised for advancing policies that earned the city ideal scores for LGBTQ inclusiveness. He will also be running against Donald Trump, whose over-the-top enthusiasm for his Florida acolyte was on display Tuesday night, as the president tweeted: "Such a fantastic win for Ron DeSantis and the people of the Great State of Florida. Democrats, let's get this done". He also handily beat Graham in the state's two largest counties - Miami-Dade and Broward - by winning more than twice the amount of votes she received there. "There will absolutely be a part of this that I can't even put words to around what it might mean for my children and other people's kids". "It's Gwen and the men".

As her male opponents attacked her in debates, Graham coined the phrase "Gwen and the men" in the race.

"The grassroots energy and momentum you're seeing out here, the sign wavers, the rallies, the barbecues we've been hosting, all the grassroots work that we've been doing for the previous year is going to pay off tonight when the polls close", Putnam said. In this contest, at least, it was not the Year of the Democratic Woman but the insurgent-progressive uprising that won the battle of the memes. Bill Nelson that is expected to be one of the nation's most competitive races.

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