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Gov. Desantis Faces Voters In A Changing Florida

By 11/08/2022 3:36 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave voters a choice between his boisterous style of culture war politics and Democratic opponent Charlie Crist’s appeal to moderates.

DeSantis would further establish himself as a rising star in the GOP with prospective White House aspirations if he defeated Crist, a former Republican state governor, by a wide margin on election day.

The election will also be the most recent gauge of the state’s political rightward shift.

In the run-up to the election, DeSantis has significantly outraised Crist and fared well in surveys while seldom mentioning him by name and instead framing the contest as a struggle against the “woke agenda” of liberals.

On the other hand, Crist focused his campaign on DeSantis, portraying the Republican as a bully who was bent on pursuing the president at the expense of Floridians’ everyday issues.

Crist challenged the governor to promise to complete a second term if elected at the only debate between the candidates.

DeSantis avoided answering the query.

Election Day occurs as Florida recovers from Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm that devastated the state in late September, killing over 100 people and leaving extensive damage.

Politically, the storm temporarily subdued a lot of the divisive campaign rhetoric, giving DeSantis a chance to portray a unified message as a crisis manager capable of putting aside the cultural warrior and cooperating with opponents like President Jose Biden.

A possible DeSantis victory would fuel rumors that he will run for president in 2024. DeSantis has avoided answering this topic thus far because it is uncertain what former President Donald Trump will do next.

According to those familiar with Trump’s thinking, Trump has grown upset with DeSantis’ inability to rule out a 2024 run. Trump credits himself with helping DeSantis win a first term in the governor’s office.

To compete for office this year, Crist, a former Republican governor of Florida who served from 2007 to 2011, resigned from his position in Congress and has had to defend several positions over his long career in Florida politics.

Nikki Fried, Crist’s Democratic opponent in the primary, regularly attacked him for his prior anti-abortion views.

Crist has vowed to defend Florida’s abortion laws if elected, but the effort may be challenging given that the Republican-controlled state legislature just imposed a 15-week abortion limit that is likely to be upheld by the state Supreme Court.

Democrats, the minority party in the state legislature, face significant obstacles in a state that was once seen as a never-ending political struggle but has since shifted to the right.

Republicans have diligently organized locally and pushed for increased voter registration since Trump won the state twice.

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