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Why the Florida Governor's race is ugly, unpredictable – and important

The race to be the next Florida governor is one of the most closely watched, highest-stakes governor's races of 2018.…

The race to be the next Florida governor is one of the most closely watched, highest-stakes governor’s races of 2018. It epitomizes the Trump era of politics with two strong personalities with irreconcilable politics and, as a debate Wednesday night underscored, downright nasty attacks.

Less than two weeks out, it’s possible that a Democrat could win that seat for the first time in two decades.

That would be a huge victory for Democrats, beyond just winning the race. They have been locked out of redistricting power in Florida, as they have been in many other states, for the past decade because Republicans controlled the map-drawing process after the 201

0 Census.

Polls show Democrat Andrew Gillum, a surprise winner of a competitive democratic prime in the summer, leading republican Ron DeSantis , who was also a dark horse to win his party’s nomination until President Trump, who liked seeing the hard-line congressman on Fox News, endorsed him.

Gillum’s campaign style and compelling backstory – his mom was a bus driver and his father a construction worker – combined with his potential to be Florida’s first black governor mean he has the potential to build a diverse, young coalition of supporters not seen since President Barack Obama won the state last in 2012.


Florida gubernatorial Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum takes selfies Monday at the University of South Florida in Tampa. (Octavio Jones / The Tampa Bay Times / AP)

Or he could fall short, like the past two Democrats running for governor have. Insiders say the race is probably going to be much closer than the almost six-point lead Gillum averages in public polling. That’s because it encompasses so many of the major political battles in 2018 that it’s unwieldy and unpredictable, said Susan MacManus, a professor at the University of South Florida and a Florida political analyst.

“Could a Democrat possibly win? say yes, “she said.” Could a Republican win? Yes. This is the most interesting race we’ve had in Florida in years. “

Here’s a rundown of the main dynamics that are shaping this race, which despite leaning slightly towards Democrats remains quite unpredictable:

Race: Gillum is one of two black candidates for governor in the South, and his race immediately became an issue in the campaign. Two days after both won their respective party’s nomination, DeSantis said Florida did not need to “monkey this up” by embracing Gillum’s campaign, choosing a phrase fraught with racial history. The DeSantis campaign has had other issues involving race arise. A white supremacist group left racist robo-calls this week on black Democratic Party leaders’ phones. Gillum, meanwhile, has leaned into the racial contrast between him and DeSantis.

“The same part of this country that was built by people of color may soon be led by people of color,” he told The Post’s Vanessa Williams. ” That, in the shadow of Donald Trump in Washington, would be poetic justice in this country. “

And in a Wednesday night debate, Gillum tied it all together plainly:” I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. “Just saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”

A referendum on President Trump: DeSantis has embraced the president perhaps more than any other major party candidate for governor this year. Republican operatives watching the race in Washington were fint med at deres data viste at Trumps godkendelsesvurdering var i 50’erne. Men der er tegn på, at præsidentens popularitet i denne svingstat kunne glide. En Quinnipiac University-afstemning i sidste uge havde flere Florida-vælgere afvist den presiderede

But Gillum has said Trump should be impeached, a statement. Republicans hope is a step too far for the majority of Florida voters.

Corruption: ] Gillum is the mayor of Tallahassee, whose city government is under the FBI scrutiny for corruption. Gillum has said it involves the city, not him, but DeSantis got traction this week for highlighting that Gillum appeared to have accepted a “Hamilton” ticket from an undercover FBI agent.

Ideological extremes: From immigration to health care, DeSantis and Gillum could not be further apart on policy. DeSantis filmed his adolescent daughter building a border wall with blocks, while Gillum thinks the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency should be abolished “in all forms.”

How these two extremes play out in a swing state, where the past twee presidentiële en guvernenniale verkiezingen zijn vastgesteld door een procentpunt, is een wildcard. Operatives on both sides argue that the other candidate’s positions are less acceptable to the general public – but that’s just theory. Just 27 percent of Florida voters chose the two candidates.

Hurricane Michael: The deadly hurricane, which made landfall earlier this month in the Florida Panhandle, devastated one of the most Reliably Republican, Reliably High Turnout Areas in the State.


9-year-old Jazzmyne Brock helps her mother and grandmother rescue items from a friend’s trailer after it was destroyed by Hurricane Michael. Scott Olson / Getty Images)

The Senate race: Most operatives think the governor’s race is the big draw in Florida. “Gillum and DeSantis are such big personalities,” said one Democrat in Washington following the race. Men det kan ikke være overlooked at den guvernør i Florida, republikanske Rick Scott, driver for senat og bruger millioner af sine egne penge, forsøger at unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D). Nelson is leading in polls, just like Gillum. Democrats battling competitive House races also feel confident their party has momentum in the state. And they credit Gillum at the top of the ticket for that.


Florida gubernatorial Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum as Sen. Bill Nelson looks on Monday at a rally. (Bob Self / Florida Times-Union / AP)

Both candidates’ ability to turn out voters: Gillum may be the more dynamic candidate, but he is banking his election on high-risk voters, like millennials and Latinos , who are not great about actually voting. Meanwhile, MacManus says DeSantis is not well liked in some of the more traditional corners of the Republican Party. Men han kunne dra nytte av to sidste minuts nyheder som kan rally konservative vælgere: The battle to get Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and a caravan of migrants in Mexico seeking asylum at the U.S. border.

The general nasty tone: The candidates had their final debate Wednesday night, and it was as down-in-the-dirt as you can get. As The Post’s Tim Craig reports, DeSantis repeatedly suggested Gillum would allow child molesters to roam about freely. Gillum accused DeSantis of being supported by neo-Nazis.

MacManus said the gutter-like rhetoric reflects just how much both sides have on the line in Florida’s governor’s race. And while Gillum has the potential to make history by winning, this race is also impossible to predict.

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