GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis easily defeated his Democrat challenger on Nov. 8, securing a second term as the Sunshine State’s top executive.
Decision Desk HQ projected DeSantis as the winner at 8 p.m. EST. DeSantis drew 58 percent of the vote compared to Crist’s 41 percent, with more than 86 percent of the vote counted as of 8:30 p.m. ET, according to Decision Desk HQ.
During his reelection campaign, he practically ignored his opponent, former Congressman Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), often not mentioning him during appearances, and barely taking swipes at him in TV commercials.
While sparring at their only debate, Crist broke from the agreed-upon rule of not asking each other questions. That’s when DeSantis took the gloves off, some said.
“Yes or no? Will you serve a full, four-year term if you’re reelected governor of Florida?” Crist demanded in rapid-fire punches. “It’s not a tough question.”
“It’s a fair question, and he won’t tell ya,” Crist said in frustration, as the moderator reminded him that asking it went against the rules.
DeSantis then delivered a roundhouse, the most-repeated line in post-debate buzz.
“I know that Charlie’s interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden,” DeSantis said, stone-faced. “But I just want to make things very, very clear. The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”
Now, politicos in Florida and around the country want to know the answer to Crist’s question: What’s next for the polarizing politician?
On Nov. 8, few DeSantis fans in Florida fretted about whether the 44-year-old phenom would win reelection.
“It’s not even close—Ron all the way,” said Gainesville resident Carol Keir, flashing a confident smile outside a church polling site in her mid-North Florida community.
“He’ll win by double digits!” she predicted, then added in jest, “Triple digits!”
By Nanette Holt