Conservative Congressman Ron DeSantis will become the next Republican man to reside in Florida’s governor’s mansion after his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum conceded to a close race Tuesday night.
Gillum, the 39-year-old progressive mayor of Tallahassee and the state’s Democratic candidate for governor, won 48.9 percent of the vote in one of the most-watched gubernatorial races in the country. DeSantis, an Iraq War veteran, took 49.9 percent of the vote Tuesday night, according to the New York Times.
Gillum pulled off a remarkable upset in the Democratic primary to become the first black gubernatorial candidate in Florida history. As a progressive candidates, he endorsed Medicare-for-all and a higher minimum wage. Leading up to the election, racist robo-calls — which included chimpanzee noises — targeted Gillum. DeSantis also warned Florida voters in August not to “monkey this up” and elect Gillum, although he later said he didn’t mean for the comment to be racist. President Donald Trump also came to DeSantis’ aid and called Gillum a “thief” on Twitter.
Trump had heavily backed DeSantis, and visited Florida last week, while DeSantis has closely associated his own policies with the president’s. He even aired a campaign ad in which his young son wore a “Make America Great Again” onesie, while he and his daughter were shown building a border wall. “I want you to know that in spite of our congratulating him on his victory this evening, nothing that we believe in is compromised,” Gillum said in his concession speech Tuesday night.
“We still have to be willing to show up every single day and demand our seat at the table.”
Cover image: Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum gives his concession speech as he is joined on stage by his wife R. Jai Gillum, right, and running mate Chris King and his wife Kristen Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)