The race to succeed Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has been a wild political ride for more than year and will likely continue to be a focal point of political analysts gearing up for 2020 and beyond.
The state has not elected a Democratic governor in 20 years but helped send President Barack Obama (D) to the White House in 2008 and 2012, and then President Trump (R) in 2016. Florida also hosts a top tier U.S. Senate race pitting the outgoing popular governor against an endangered incumbent that is likely to have some effect down ballot.
With his large war chest and experience, establishment-backed Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam (R) looked to have a lock on the Republican nomination for governor until a Trump endorsement tweet came in for Freedom Caucus member and frequent Fox News guest, Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL-6). Congressman DeSantis (R) won with 56.47% of the vote. Front-runners on the Democratic side included a centrist former Congresswoman, a Bernie-endorsed Tallahassee Mayor, and a multi-millionaire former Miami Beach Mayor. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) is unapologetically progressive, has campaigned on corporate tax increases to pay for public education, criminal justice reform, Medicare-for-All, and a $15 minimum rage, and defeated his Democratic challengers with 34.3% of the vote. The Florida gubernatorial is considered a toss-up.
Ashley Moody secured the Republican nomination for the Office of Attorney General while State Representative Sean Shaw secured the Democratic nomination. This is an open seat as sitting Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) is vacating the office. The Florida attorney general race is considered a toss-up.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) secured President Trump’s endorsement and the Republican gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday. In part, he is running on his accomplishments as governor including balancing the budget, establishing the Arizona Border Strike Force, and adding over 200,000 new jobs to the state. It remains to be seen if the Arizona teachers strike will affect the general election, but it probably influenced his re-election campaign. Governor Ducey is now also campaigning on increased investment in public education and touting the 20% salary raise passed and signed this session. David Garcia (D) has served as the state’s Associate Superintendent and was victorious in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. He’s running on progressive causes including increased access to full-day Pre-K and Medicare-for-All. Garcia is a vocal and impassioned opponent of President Trump and his campaign has tied Governor Ducey to the White House. Governor Ducey (R) has over $3 million in his campaign account (compared to Garcia’s $147,170) and the Republican Governors Association has already dropped over $9 million on the race. Most ratings have Arizona likely remaining in Republican control.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) did not have a challenger in the primary. He will face off against January Contreras (D) in November. Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Office of Attorney General.
Republicans in Oklahoma have chosen businessman Kevin Stitt (R) to take on Drew Edmondson (D) in the November general election to replace outgoing Governor Mary Fallin (R). Stitt ran as a political outsider and hit his opponent, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (R), on not fully embracing the Trump Administration’s policies. Stitt is running on ethics and transparency. He wants to audit each agency and publish how the state spends its money online. Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Governor’s Mansion.
A nasty intra-party battle was supposed to come to an end yesterday in the state’s attorney general race. Attorney General Mike Hunter (R) appears to have secured the Republican nomination for the Office of Attorney General by less than 300 votes. His opponent, Gentner Drummond, has yet to concede and a recount request is a possibility. Notwithstanding the tone of this primary, Republicans are expected to maintain control of the office.