In a major disappointment for Democrats, Andrew Gillum has lost to Republican Ron DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial race.
Gillum had positioned himself as a progressive trying to prove that liberal policies would play well in a purple state (and that the South could elect a black governor). His victory would have been a major advance for LGBTQ rights in Florida, but from the start his campaign was dogged with racist attacks, including robocalls crudely imitating African Americans.
By contrast, Gillum’s opponent, DeSantis, embraced Trumpism wholeheartedly. As a member of Congress, DeSantis was a key member of the right-wing Freedom Caucus. He held the anti-LGBTQ positions you would expect from that group. During the campaign, he appeared onstage was caught hanging around with Raynard Jackson, a right-wing pundit known for his anti-LGBT views, including insulting the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre.
Meanwhile, current Republican governor Rick Scott beat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson to win a seat in the Senate, expanding the Republicans’ majority there.