TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded the Florida governor’s race to Republican Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis will be Florida’s 46th governor: the state’s fourth consecutive GOP chief executive.
DeSantis quit his job in Congress to focus on the gubernatorial race, a heated affair that largely reflected the broader national tensions over race and class in the Trump era. Those issues, which were already bubbling up throughout the primary, were escalated by DeSantis when he went on Fox News a day after the primary to warn Florida voters not to “monkey this up” by electing Gillum. DeSantis denied there was any racial innuendo in his remark, but race — and allegations that DeSantis was using it against his opponent — were never far off during the 10-week general election sprint.
They hit a boiling point during the pair’s second and final debate. DeSantis loudly objected to suggestions he was in cahoots with far-right figures or that his ties, unwitting he said, to white supremacists should be held against him.
“Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist,” Gillum said in response. “I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
If that line earned Gillum viral praise and national recognition, his indirect connections to an FBI investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee was a drag on his campaign, which at times struggled to explain Gillum’s relationship with a former lobbyist and friend and his run-ins with an undercover federal agent. Gillum maintained throughout the campaign that the FBI told him he was not a target of the probe, which could continue to dog him in the coming months or years.