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Update: Andrew Gillum Wins Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

Photo: via Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office

9:20 AP- Andrew Gillum Wins Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has won the Democratic nomination in his quest to become Florida’s first black governor.

Gillum won the primary Tuesday after upsetting a field of better-known and better funded candidates. He defeated a field that included former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who aimed to follow her father to the office and become the state’s first woman governor.

Gillum was a favorite among many groups that call themselves progressive Democrats. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont endorsed him.

Gillum spent only $6.5 million on a primary where billionaire Jeff Greene spent $38 million and millionaire former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine spent about $29 million of his fortune.

He faces Republican nominee U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the race to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Attorney General and Agriculture Commission Primaries

In the race for Agriculture commissioner, Matt Caldwell won the Republican primary and Nikki Fried won the Democratic primary.

And Democrat Sean Shaw won his party’s nomination for attorney general. He’ll face GOP primary winner Ashley Moody in November.

8 p.m.- AP- Ron DeSantis Wins GOP Gubernatorial Primary

The north east Florida Congressman edged out ahead of primary challenger Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam after the President first tweeted his support, followed by a formal announcement and a robo-call campaign featuring Trump.

Polls last week had the two candidates neck and neck.

DeSantis will face the Democratic nominee in November.

Graham and Gillum neck and neck

Former congresswoman Gwen Graham and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum were neck and neck in the Democratic primary, with Phillip Levine in 3rd place.

Graham in Orlando for election night party

Supporters are gathering at the Social nightclub in downtown Orlando where Graham is expected to make an appearance with supporters.

The former congresswoman arrived in Orlando this afternoon after campaign stops in Miami and West Palm Beach.

90.7’s Amy Green reports Graham had some down time with her husband and children as her supporters gathered at The Social.

Graham based her campaign in Orlando at the center of the crucial I-4 corridor, the swing region of this critical swing state.

She is the favored candidate in many polls in a Democratic gubernatorial primary that is the most crowded since 1978, when her father Bob Graham was elected governor.

As the polls close, supporters gather at primary night parties 

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ron DeSantis and his supporters are gathering in Orlando awaiting primary results.

90.7’s Brendan Byrne at the watch party reports that DeSantis is riding yet another Presidential tweet from Donald Trump.  The President tweeted simply “VOTE FOR RON” in all caps last night.

The north east Florida Congressman edged out ahead of primary challenger Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam after the President first tweeted his support, followed by a formal announcement and a robo-call campaign featuring Trump.

Polls last week had the two candidates neck and neck. Analysts say it will be a close race.

The winner of today’s primary will face the Democratic nominee in November.

 

Meanwhile supporters of Chris King are holding out hope, even as the Winter Park Democratic gubernatorial candidate trails in the polls.

Abby Cardona tells 90.7’s Abe Aboraya at the Alfond Inn, that King was a representative of Central Florida.

“You can run for office and still maintain some dignity and respect and your children can still be proud of you,” said Cardona.

“And even though he may not win the nomination, he won my heart.”

Will Central Florida’s New Puerto Rican Residents Affect Vote?

Many Puerto Ricans still resettling in central Florida after Hurricane Maria are voting for the first time today.

The non-profit group Mi Familia Vota has registered more than 15,000 new Puerto Rican voters in Orange County. But the majority are choosing to register with no party affiliation, says Nancy Batista, who heads up Florida’s Mi Familia Vota chapter. Voters who are registered NPA cannot vote in Florida’s closed primaries.

“We know that there may not be an actual impact for the primary,” Batista says. “My guess is that they’re trying to becoming more educated as to what the parties are.”

Batista says Mi Familia Vota will focus on educating Puerto Rican voters about party differences before the general election.

She says although the island is a US territory, there are a lot of differences, including “red meaning Republican and blue meaning Democrat,” says Batista. “On the island, it’s actually vice versa.”

Mi Familia Vota’s numbers show more than 55 percent of Latino voters in central Florida are Puerto Rican, a jump from 27 percent in 2016 before Hurricane Maria.

Democratic Primary For Governor May Be Close Race

Five top candidates are facing off for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination: Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum, Philip Levine, Jeff Greene and Chris King.

University of Central Florida political scientist Aubrey Jewett says the race will be closely watched nationally.

“Florida is still the largest battleground swing state, and so people pay attention to Florida because what happens in Florida politics can have an effect nationally,” says Jewett.

Some polls show Graham as the front-runner, but 90.7 political analyst Dick Batchelor says Gillum recently has been gaining momentum.

“This race is going to be close,” says Batchelor. “What’s fascinating to watch is Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, an African-American. He got endorsed by Bernie Sanders – he came to the state. George Soros and Tom Steyer put in about $1.3 million over the weekend, and [Gillum] is moving up in the polls, which is fascinating.”

Meanwhile, Greene canceled his election night party after pulling his TV ads in all but three markets, including Orlando. His campaign says he will watch the returns at home with his family.

Republican Gubernatorial Primary Could Be “Tough To Call”

Republican voters are deciding who will head to the general election for Florida’s governor, and the race could come down to a photo finish.

Congressman Ron DeSantis is facing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for the GOP nomination for governor. At the start of the campaign, long-time Florida politico Putnam held a substantial lead. But an endorsement by President Trump gave DeSantis an edge in the polls heading into the final stretch.

UCF political scientist Aubrey Jewett said polling over the last ten days show no clear front-runner heading into the primaries.

“Some showed DeSantis up by a wide margin, but one or two actually had Putnam either ahead or even. So this one is pretty tough to call,” said Jewett.

DeSantis will be watching the elections results roll in with supporters at an Orlando event, while Putnam is joining supporters in Lakeland. The Republican nominee will face the Democratic primary winner in the general election in November.

On Primary Day, Central Floridians Head to Polls

It’s primary day.

University of Central Florida political scientist Aubrey Jewett says many of the Sunshine State’s top-ticket races will be watched closely across the country.

“Florida is still the largest battleground swing state, and so people pay attention to Florida because what happens in Florida politics can have an effect nationally.”

Central Florida voters also will cast ballots in races for mayor, school board chair and judge.


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