Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been declared the winner of his reelection campaign.
With 95% of precincts reporting, DeSantis has 59.6% of the vote while his Democratic challenger – former Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) who also served as the governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011 – got 39.8% of the vote, The New York Times is reporting.
Earlier this year, DeSantis signed the state’s Don’t Say Gay bill, which bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in younger grades and requires them to be “developmentally appropriate” in older grades. Instead of defining those terms, the bill allows parents to sue schools if they believe the law was violated. LGBTQ advocates have warned that the bill will make life harder for LGBTQ youth and could increase the suicide rate.
To support the legislation, DeSantis repeatedly told a fake story about a school that forcibly transitioned a child.
“Some people in the school had decided that the daughter was really a boy and not a girl, so they changed the girl’s name to a boy’s name, had her dress like a boy and on doing all this stuff, without telling the mother or getting consent from the mother,” he said at an event in March.
The story isn’t true, though; the kid’s mother had contacted the school to inform them that the child was transitioning, and the school followed district policy on how to handle that.
Disney Corp criticized the Don’t Say Gay law, and DeSantis – along with state Republican lawmakers – punished the corporation for speaking out by taking away a state contract.
DeSantis also signed a bill to ban transgender students from participating in school sports.
DeSantis declared a cisgender woman the winner of a college swimming competition in a proclamation just because he didn’t like the fact that the real winner was transgender. This came less than a year after he signed a bill banning transgender girls and women from participating in school sports in his state, denying them educational opportunities equal to their cisgender counterparts.
More recently, DeSantis said that he wanted to look into using child protective statutes to investigate parents who allow their children to see drag queens.
“You had these very young kids, and they must have been like 9, 10 years old, at a quote, ‘drag show,’ where they were putting money in the underwear of this — and that is totally inappropriate. That is not something that children should be exposed to,” he said in June.
And just this month, the two Florida medical boards voted to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, a move that will forcibly de-transition numerous young people. DeSantis pushed for the new rules.
Crist, on the other hand, got scores of 100 on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard for his first two sessions in Congress, showing his support for pro-LGBTQ legislation.
He made LGBTQ equality a central part of his campaign, promising to undo some of what DeSantis accomplished in his first term, as well as crack down on conversion therapy and ameliorate the state’s monkeypox response.
During a debate, Crist called DeSantis “the most anti-business governor I’ve ever seen” for his attacks on Disney.
“I’m not the governor who attacked the cruise industry because they just wanted to make sure that their customers weren’t sick before they got on the boat. That’s you. You’re the most anti-business governor I’ve ever seen.”
DeSantis has refused to say whether he will serve his whole term and he is widely rumored to be considering a 2024 presidential run.