Results from Florida's Primary

Written By: Olivia Meade, Special Projects Associate and Caleb Cook, Special Project Associate

Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates went head-to-head this primary cycle to prove they are the person who could defeat Governor Ron DeSantis (R) in November, who ran unopposed in his primary. 

U.S Representative Charlie Crist (D) and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) ran on similar platforms and both tried to paint Governor DeSantis as a presidential hopeful only focused on the path to Washington. Ultimately, Crist closed out the day with nearly 60% of the votes.

Crist is a Member of Congress representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District. He previously served one term as Florida's governor from 2007 to 2011. He was elected as a Republican but became an independent in 2010 before joining the Democratic Party in 2012. He has released a myriad of policy platforms including plans to address reproductive rights, voting rights, public safety, healthcare, and the economy. Although his Democratic opponent had criticized him on his evolving record on access to abortion, Crist has vowed to protect reproductive rights and veto anti-abortion legislation if he is elected governor again.

Incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis was not challenged in the Republican primary. DeSantis has made reshaping school boards a top priority during his campaign. The governor endorsed 29 conservative candidates ahead of Tuesday's election for school board races, a move without much precedent as these races typically don't receive much attention and are technically nonpartisan. DeSantis has continued to highlight his policies that kept Florida open during the pandemic and has promised to continue to investigate voter fraud from the 2020 election. He is currently on track to become the highest funded candidate for Governor in the nation, surpassing candidates Whitman and Pritzker who raised $179 million and $176 million for their campaigns respectively.

Although Florida is at times considered a swing state, Democrats generally face an uphill battle in statewide races. DeSantis is polling well ahead of Crist and the Cook Political Report has rated this race as likely Republican.

The Democratic primary for attorney general saw three contenders: former Florida Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Aramis Ayala (D), former Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Jim Lewis (D), and attorney Daniel Uhlfelder (D).  

In the end, Aramis Ayala secured the Democratic party’s nomination for attorney general with approximately 45% of the vote. If elected, she pledges to challenge in court the constitutionality of the Parental Rights in Education Bill and the 2022 redistricting plan signed into law by Governor DeSantis. Ayala hopes to improve public safety in Florida, touting work she has done as State Attorney to address community violence. She plans to advocate seniors’ rights and prosecute predatory lending, investment scams, and securities fraud. Ayala has expressed commitment to renewable energy.

Incumbent Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) advanced from the Republican primary as the party’s only candidate. She was first elected to the office in 2018 when she won slightly over 52% of the vote to defeat former Florida State Representative Sean Shaw (D). Moody was previously a judge for the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida from 2007-2017. Since her election, Moody has supported lawsuits filed against the Affordable Care Act, opposed the restoration of voting rights for felons, and opposed marijuana legalization. In 2021, Moody filed a lawsuit against the CDC and the federal government for vaccination requirements on board cruise ships. Moody backed former President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election to President Joe Biden. In December 2020, she joined an amicus brief supporting a Texas lawsuit that challenged the presidential election results in several states.

As of this month, Moody has raised over $6.3 million for her campaign. Most pundits believe Moody will easily secure a second term in November.

State Attorneys General (AG) have been getting more involved in a wider range of policy issues in recent years. If they aren’t touching your industry now, they may be soon. Stateside can help you navigate these developments through our Attorneys General practice. For more information or questions, contact Steve Arthur at or 719-686-7466.