Endorsed gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis prevails in Florida GOP primary

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GOP lawmakers plan "Freedom Tour" MORE (R) on Tuesday after the Republican won his party's primary to vie for the seat held by retiring Gov. Rick Scott (R).

With 51 percent of precincts reporting, DeSantis led state Agriculture Commissioner and former Rep. Adam Putnam 56 percent to 37 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Facing off in the Democratic gubernatorial primary were former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, billionaire Jeff Greene, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando-area businessman Chris King.


President Trump listens as Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis speaks at a Make America Great Again Rally in Tampa last month.

Trump, who captured the battleground state of Florida by just more than 1 percentage point in the 2016 White House race, tweeted his congratulations to DeSantis after the victory and said he would be "a fantastic governor".

Despite being vastly outspent by his rivals, the charismatic and unabashedly liberal Gillum built a devoted following of progressives, many of them young and African-American, with his campaign message of social justice and lifting up poor people and appealing to Florida's growing diversity. But in other races in South Carolina, New York and more, he's shown an ability to move voters to candidates who side with him and against candidates who don't, even incumbents.


Sharon Grant said she was planning to vote for Putnam - until Trump weighed in on the race.

Trump recorded a 54-second phone message that the DeSantis campaign is sending to GOP voters across the state.

Florida will also be home to one of the top Senate contests this cycle.


If elected in November, Gillum would be the first black governor of Florida, began his run as mayor of Tallahassee in 2014, and prides himself on his record of developing a thriving innovative economy, beating the gun lobby to protect reform and defending immigrants, according to his website. "He's doing things the way I like", Parke said.

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