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2022 General Election: As it happened

Published November 7, 2022 at 5:56 PM EST
Miriam Giron takes down voter information signs as the Miami Springs Community Center precinct closes.
Maya Washburn
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WLRN
Miriam Giron takes down voter information signs as the Miami Springs Community Center precinct closes.

Republicans have swept every major Florida office, from governor to agriculture commissioner. They’re also on track for a super-majority in the state legislature.

Here are some of the headlines and main results from the Nov. 8 election night in South Florida:

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis won a second term as Florida's governor, defeating Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. The victory gives him a national platform as he eyes a potential run for the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination.
  • U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio won a third term, holding on to a key seat in the U.S. Senate.
  • In what was widely considered the most competitive congressional race in Florida, Republican incumbent Maria Elvira Salazar won reelection for Florida’s 27th Congressional District in a landslide. More broadly, GOP candidates dominated Democrats in swing areas of Central Florida, the Tampa Bay region and South Florida.
  • On Tuesday, the Florida Cabinet returned to an all-Republican lineup as outgoing Senate President Wilton Simpson was elected agriculture commissioner and Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis won second terms.
  • Florida voters rejected three proposed constitutional amendments. None of the proposals received support from 60% of voters to pass.
  • For the latest detailed vote counts for your county, visit your Supervisor of Elections' website: Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Monroe County, Palm Beach County.

Palmetto Bay reelects mayor, two incumbent council members

Posted November 9, 2022 at 2:41 PM EST

Karyn Cunningham was reelected mayor of Palmetto Bay Tuesday, defeating Eugene Flinn, who had served two stints as the town’s mayor.

Cunningham won handily with 55% of the vote against Flinn and a second contender, Alan “AlJohn” Farquharson, an artist and owner of an air-conditioning company.

Cunningham, 59, is a former teacher who works part-time for the United Teachers of Dade and served on the town’s council before she was elected mayor. It was Cunningham’s second win over Flinn; she beat him as he sought reelection four years ago.

Palmetto Bay voters also reelected two incumbent council members by substantial margins.

Patrick Fiore beat Pam Gorman for seat 1 with 57% of the vote. Marsha Matson beat her Seat 3 challenger, Russell Thomas Jones, with 61%.

Democrats appear to slip again with Latino voters

Posted November 9, 2022 at 11:19 AM EST
FILE - Shown in the Spanish language are "He Votado Hoy" stickers or I voted today at a polling place in Philadelphia, May 21, 2019. This month’s elections may have offered a preview of the Spanish-language misinformation that could pose a growing threat to Democrats, who are already anxious about their standing with Latino voters after losing some ground with them last year. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Matt Rourke/AP
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AP
FILE - Shown in the Spanish language are "He Votado Hoy" stickers or I voted today at a polling place in Philadelphia, May 21, 2019. This month’s elections may have offered a preview of the Spanish-language misinformation that could pose a growing threat to Democrats, who are already anxious about their standing with Latino voters after losing some ground with them last year. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Despite a decent night for Democrats overall, the party again struggled to energize Latino voters, who have long been a key portion of their base.

Exit polls showed Democrats won about 6 in 10 Latinos overall. That's down from 65% in 2020, which was already considered a slip from 2018, when the party won closer to 7 in 10.

But it's important to remember that Latino voters are not a monolith. Much of the shift to Republicans has come from Latinos of Cuban and Venezuelan descent, who have grown far more Republican-leaning.

That's the group who likely helped propel DeSantis and Rubio to their big wins in Florida. Both candidates won by double digits in Miami-Dade County, a place that used to be a Democratic stronghold. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the county by 29 points. It shifted more Republican in 2020 with Biden only winning it by 7, and that raised eyebrows about how Democrats were doing with this cross section of Latinos.

In Texas, Democratic candidates appeared to hold relatively steady after Democrats' disastrous 2020 election there, when multiple Rio Grande counties shifted toward the GOP. In this year's Texas gubernatorial race, Democrat Beto O'Rourke lost to incumbent Republican Greg Abbott but was able to pull in similar margins as Biden in two of the state's largest border counties -– Hidalgo and Webb.

In Arizona and Nevada, it was also unclear whether there was a significant change from 2020. The exit polls put the margin for Latinos in Arizona down slightly for Democrat Mark Kelly from 2020, but up slightly for Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. Those numbers could change as they are weighted to the final results.

The book is still out on this, but it's safe to say that Republicans are making a genuine play for Latinos, they say, on the economy, crime and progressive policies. Black voters and younger voters appeared to turn out as similar shares of the electorate and margins as in past midterm elections.

Read more election night takeaways here.

GOP piles up in State house races

Posted November 9, 2022 at 9:49 AM EST

Republicans added to their dominance of the Florida House in Tuesday’s elections, winning almost every battleground race and defeating two incumbent Democrats.

The Florida House Republican Campaign Committee said late Tuesday that Republicans are expected to hold 85 seats in the 120-member House, the largest GOP majority in history. The election also gave Republicans a super-majority, which is important for procedural reasons and will help smooth the way for passing the party’s priorities.

“Tonight was historic,” incoming House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, said in a prepared statement. “Florida voters are sending the largest Republican majority ever to Tallahassee because they support the direction Republican leadership has taken our state. The Florida House will continue to pursue a bold, conservative agenda for the nation to follow that gives citizens more freedom and opportunity to achieve their American Dream.”

Republican Susan Plasencia knocked off Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, in House District 37 in Orange and Seminole counties, while Republican Danny Alvarez defeated Rep. Andrew Learned, D-Brandon, in Hillsborough County’s District 69.

More broadly, GOP candidates dominated Democrats in swing areas of Central Florida, the Tampa Bay region and South Florida.

Smith, one of the highest-profile Democrats in the House, cruised to wins in his past three races in Orange County. But he ran this year in a redrawn district that included part of Seminole County, and Republicans heavily backed Plasencia, who received about 52 percent of the vote, according to the state Division of Elections website.

Meanwhile, Learned received 43 percent of the vote as he lost to Alvarez in a redrawn district where registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats.

About an hour before polls closed, Learned sent out a campaign email that seemed to foreshadow his defeat.

“It's a tough district, in a tough year, with tough national headwinds ... yet still, we're in the fight,” Learned said in part of the email.

Republicans have controlled the House since 1996 and went into this year’s election cycle with 77 seats, according to the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee, which Renner chairs.

Most of the competitive races this year were clustered in a few regions, with Republicans sweeping almost all of those races Tuesday.

In Central Florida, for example, Rep. David Smith, R-Winter Springs, was re-elected in Seminole County’s House District 38, while Republican Doug Bankson won an open seat in District 39 in Orange and Seminole counties and Republican Carolina Amesty won an open seat in District 45 in Orange and Osceola counties..

In the Tampa Bay area, Republican Karen Gonzalez Pittman won an open seat in Hillsborough County’s District 65.

Meanwhile, in South Florida, Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point, was re-elected in Broward County’s District 100, Republican Peggy Gossett-Seidman won in Palm Beach County’s District 91 and Republican Vicki Lopez won in Miami-Dade County’s District 113.

In a somewhat-rare bright spot for Democrats, Lindsay Cross won an open seat in Pinellas County’s District 60.

Florida is no longer a swing state, says a long-time DNC member

Posted November 9, 2022 at 7:37 AM EST
Martie Mees, center, president of the Republican Club of South Dade, sings along with the U.S. national anthem at the start of a campaign rally with Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republican politicians and candidates competing in the U.S. 2022 midterm elections, in West Miami, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
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AP
Martie Mees, center, president of the Republican Club of South Dade, sings along with the U.S. national anthem at the start of a campaign rally with Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republican politicians and candidates competing in the U.S. 2022 midterm elections, in West Miami, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Republicans have swept every major Florida office, from governor to agriculture commissioner. They’re also on track for a super-majority in the state legislature.

Given the Republican party’s big showing this midterm cycle, can Florida still be considered a swing state?

Jon Ausman, the longest serving member of the Democratic National Committee in Florida’s history, said Florida is no longer a swing state, but a red state.

"It might be not pink state—it’s more red than that—but not a blazing, fire engine red state. We have a lot of work to do if we want to make it more competitive and we can’t always come up on the short end of the stick when we have a 1% election,” Ausman said.

The Florida has been trending toward Republicans for more than a decade. The party overtook Democrats in party registration months ago and has enjoyed significant fundraising and election advantages for more than a decade.

Republican Ron DeSantis wins reelection as Florida's Governor

Posted November 9, 2022 at 6:50 AM EST
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his wife Casey DeSantis and their children walk on stage to celebrate victory over Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist during an election night watch party at the Tampa Convention Center on Nov. 8, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.
OCTAVIO JONES
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NPR
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his wife Casey DeSantis and their children walk on stage to celebrate victory over Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist during an election night watch party at the Tampa Convention Center on Nov. 8, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.

Florida voters have given Republican Ron DeSantis a second term as the state's governor, according to a race call by The Associated Press. DeSantis overcame a challenge from Charlie Crist, a former Democratic Congressman who, as a Republican, served as Florida Governor more than a decade ago.

The victory gives DeSantis a second term and a national platform as he eyes a potential run for the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination. He was first elected governor after receiving an endorsement from then-President Donald Trump.

In his first term, DeSantis courted Trump supporters with incendiary attacks on the Biden administration. DeSantis opposed the president's COVID policies and made White House medical advisor Anthony Fauci a prime target for criticism. DeSantis opposed policies requiring COVID vaccinations and facemasks.

Read the rest of the story here.

First-time candidate Zeman wins in Broward County school board race

Posted November 9, 2022 at 12:30 AM EST
Allen Zeman with his family (from left to right), wife Andrea, daughter Lily, daughter Jane, and son Wesley.
Kate Payne
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WLRN News
Allen Zeman with his family (from left to right), wife Andrea, daughter Lily, daughter Jane, and son Wesley.

A first-time candidate appears to have unseated a longtime school board member in Broward County who was removed from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis. As of 8:30 am on Wednesday, five precincts have yet to report results in the race.

Allen Zeman, a consultant and graduate of Broward County Public Schools, carried 51% of the vote, edging out Donna Korn by 3%, according to unofficial results.

Speaking to reporters as the results came in, Zeman said voters want to turn the page on what’s been a turbulent time in the district.

Over the past year and a half, a statewide grand jury investigation led to the indictments of three district officials and prompted DeSantis to remove four school board members from office.

“People really do feel that enough is enough. This school board needs to focus on student achievement. It needs to focus on becoming an A-rated school district,” Zeman said. “Something to keep people focused on what really matters rather than the drama, the grand juries, the multiple investigations. It’s time to really focus on the things that matter.”

At Zeman’s home in Fort Lauderdale, the champagne began flowing after 8 p.m., even with only about a third of precincts reporting. The house was full of the giddy sounds of his elementary-age children, who chased each other around the living room in excitement.

“[Voters] would like to move on and focus on these people,” Zeman said, referring to his kids. “On the third and fifth graders and the kindergartners and the high school kids … because that’s why we have schools and that’s why we have a school board.”

Korn, who was first appointed to the board in 2011, was one of four board members who the grand jury found were incompetent and neglected their duties. DeSantis removed them in the final months of their terms.

Korn has described the grand jury report as politically motivated – saying it was a tool the governor used to justify removing board members in the wake of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

She was the only of the suspended board members to run for re-election, despite concerns that if she won, the governor could remove her from office a second time.

“I think that it was very clear what the governor was expecting the grand jury to give him,” Korn told WLRN before Election Day. “There was a political promise that was made and the grand jury allowed the governor to fulfill it.”

Korn did not respond to multiple requests for comment after the votes came in Tuesday evening.

*This post has been corrected to show that five precincts are still outstanding.

Florida votes down all three state constitutional amendments

Posted November 9, 2022 at 12:24 AM EST

Florida voters late Tuesday appeared to have rejected three proposed constitutional amendments that would have provided property-tax breaks and eliminated the state’s Constitution Revision Commission.

The proposals, put on the ballot by the Legislature, needed support from 60% of voters to pass. As of 10:45 p.m., all were below that threshold after receiving little attention during an election dominated by races for governor and a U.S. Senate seat.

One of the measures, which appeared on the ballot as Amendment 1, sought to prevent properties’ assessed values from increasing because of improvements aimed at combating flooding.

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The other proposed tax break, which appeared as Amendment 3, sought to expand the homestead property-tax exemption for teachers, first responders and military members.

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Meanwhile, what appeared as Amendment 2 sought to repeal the Constitution Revision Commission, a panel that meets every 20 years and has the power to propose ballot measures. The commission drew controversy in 2018 because of some of its proposals.

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The Constitution Revision Commission repeal proposal received about 54 percent support Tuesday, according to preliminary results posted on the state Division of Elections website.

The tax proposals drew more support but did not appear likely to reach the 60 percent threshold.

Amendment 1 was aimed largely at helping property owners who elevate all or parts of their homes.

Under the proposal, such improvements would not have been considered in determining assessed values. A 2021 Senate staff analysis said the proposal would have reduced local government property-tax revenues by $5.8 million during the 2023-2024 fiscal year, with the amount growing to $25.1 million annually.

Amendment 3 would have increased the homestead exemption for teachers, law-enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency-medical technicians, paramedics, child-welfare services professionals and active-duty members of the military and Florida National Guard.

The change would have saved $80.9 million for the targeted property owners next fiscal year, with the annual savings growing to $93.6 million in five years, according to projections.

Under current law, homeowners can qualify for homestead exemptions on the first $25,000 of the appraised value of property. They also can qualify for $25,000 homestead exemptions on the value between $50,000 and $75,000. Any higher property value is taxable.

Under the proposal, homeowners in the targeted professions could have received an additional $50,000 exemption, which would have applied to the property value between $100,000 and $150,000.

The 37-member Constitution Revision Commission drew the ire of lawmakers in 2018 after it placed a series of issues on the ballot that touched on issues ranging from new ethics standards for public officials to a ban on greyhound racing.

The commission’s members are appointed by the governor, legislative leaders, the Supreme Court chief justice and attorney general. In part, the 2018 controversy centered on it creating “bundled” ballot proposals that tied together seemingly unrelated topics, such as one proposal to ban offshore oil drilling and indoor vaping.

Florida GOP gains four state Senate seats

Posted November 9, 2022 at 12:20 AM EST

Florida Republicans gained four seats in the state Senate on Tuesday, ousting two incumbents as Democrats were eclipsed in the midterm elections up and down the ballot.

The general election marked Florida voters’ first opportunity to cast ballots in newly drawn state House and Senate seats, the result of the once-a-decade redistricting process.

Republicans, who already control both chambers of the Legislature, notched victories in several hard-fought Senate races, knocking out incumbent Democrats Janet Cruz of Tampa and Loranne Ausley of Tallahassee.

Following Tuesday’s races, Republicans’ 28-12 lead in the Senate now comprises a more than two-thirds supermajority, a status that gives the caucus a near-lockdown on power in the upper chamber. House Republicans also now have a supermajority.

Incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican who takes over following Tuesday’s elections, called the GOP’s decisive victories a “monumental win in the fight to keep Florida free.”

“With the first Black Republican since Reconstruction, the first Green Beret and one of the youngest members ever elected, we will return to Tallahassee with a supermajority and a renewed commitment to fight for access to the American Dream for all Floridians,” she said in a prepared statement.

Fifteen of the Senate’s 40 members --- nine Republicans and six Democrats --- were unopposed in Tuesday’s election after either winning primaries in August or facing no opposition this year.

The loss of two veteran senators --- Cruz and Ausley --- delivered a stinging blow to the Senate Democratic caucus in some of Tuesday night’s biggest upsets.

A steady stream of attack ads flooded airwaves and mailboxes in the closely watched contest between Cruz and Republican Jay Collins in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election.

Cruz was first elected to the Senate in 2018 after spending eight years in the House, where she served as Democratic leader. Cruz, born in Tampa, defeated Republican incumbent Dana Young in a contentious 2018 contest that then was one of the Senate’s marquee races.

Collins, who served in the U.S. Army Special Forces, has a lengthy military resume that includes multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Purple Heart recipient was wounded several times in combat, with one injury later requiring amputation of one of his legs.

The closely watched race for a North Florida seat long held by Democrats proved another Achilles’ heel for Democrats, as Republican challenger Corey Simon clobbered Ausley.

Ausley, scion of a politically connected Tallahassee family who previously served in the House, was first elected to the Senate in 2020 after withstanding a challenge from Republican political newcomer Marva Preston.

While Simon is new to politics, he wields wide name recognition locally. The former Florida State University football star also played professionally, mostly for the Phialdelphia Eagles, and his campaign mailers heavily featured FSU’s garnet and gold colors. Simon was tapped by Gov. Ron DeSantis to lead the Volunteer Florida state agency, a post Simon left when he launched his Senate bid.

Simon will be the first Black Republican to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction.

"As a kid, my mom fought to ensure I had access to opportunities that far exceeded the confines of our neighborhood. I got into this race to be a voice for the children and families across this district who are far too often forgotten. I want to thank them for trusting me with North Florida’s long-overdue seat at the table in the Florida Senate,” Simon said in a statement Tuesday night.

Republicans also flipped an open Miami-Dade County seat that had been held by Annette Taddeo, who left the Senate to run for Congress this year. In the race for Senate District 38, Republican Alexis Maria Calatayud edged out Democrat Janelle Perez by eight percentage points, nailing down more than 54% of the vote.

Nine new senators --- seven Republicans and two Democrats --- are joining the upper chamber after serving in the state House.

The list of Republicans includes Erin Grall of Vero Beach, who ran unopposed for newly drawn Senate District 29; Jay Trumbull of Panama City; Bryan Avila of Miami Springs; Nick DiCeglie of Indian Rocks Beach; Blaise Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican and former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida; Clay Yarborough of Jacksonville; and Colleen Burton of Lakeland.

In other races, state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, a Windermere Democrat who previously served in the state Senate and defeated fellow House member Kamia Brown in an August primary election, is headed back to the Senate.

State Rep. Tracie Davis, a Jacksonville Democrat, defeated Republican opponent Binod Kumar Tuesday night in a 57-42 margin.

In another high-profile race, incumbent Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, defeated state Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil, with a 55-45 split for Senate District 10 in Central Florida. Brodeur’s victory statement encapsulated the GOP’s bravado as Tuesday’s returns rolled in:

"Floridians sent a clear message tonight about who we are as a state and the values we hold dear by rejecting the radical ideologies being pushed by the fringe: Abortion without limits, indoctrination in our classrooms, lockdowns, mandates and defunding the police,” he said.

Republicans sweep state Cabinet races

Posted November 9, 2022 at 12:18 AM EST

The Florida Cabinet returned to an all-Republican lineup Tuesday as outgoing Senate President Wilton Simpson was elected agriculture commissioner and Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis won second terms.

The three Republicans were widely expected to win, as they dominated in fundraising and as the state Democratic Party did not focus on the races. Simpson defeated Naomi Blemur, while Moody beat Aramis Ayala and Patronis won over Adam Hattersley.

“It is so very important to remember that through all of this, these exciting times, through all of the pundits and the noise and acrimony and the commercials and propaganda, we are choosing people to trust to govern on behalf of we the people,” Moody told supporters Tuesday night just before the polls closed.

The candidates did not debate during the races, which were overshadowed by the campaigns for governor and a U.S. Senate seat.

Read the rest of the story here.

Sen. Rubio thanks God, his family for opportunities and re-election

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:44 PM EST
Sen. Marco Rubio addresses supporters on Tuesday.
Verónica Zaragovia
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WLRN News
Sen. Marco Rubio addresses supporters on Tuesday.

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has won his re-election and will retain the seat he has held since 2011. Statewide, he won more than 57 percent of the vote – and also the majority of votes in Miami-Dade County, beating Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando.

Sen. Rubio went up to the podium with AC/DC’s "Thunderstruck" blaring from the speakers. He pointed out the unlikely Republican flip of Miami-Dade County.

“It’s great to be here gathered in the red county of Miami-Dade,” he said, as the crowd cheered. “I want to begin thanking our creator, God, for allowing me to be an American – citizen of the greatest country.”

He told the crowd that his parents worked at a hotel, and said the U.S. gave him the opportunity to pursue a career in politics.

Rubio said Democrats are not listening to working-class voters. His supporter, Otilio Rojas, said Rubio does listen.

“Just to sum it up, he’s one of us,” Rojas said. “In a position that he can help and he has helped. We were so happy to be here, share with him, and we’re happy that our voices are going to be heard.”

Rojas said it was his first time coming to an election night party and was worth getting sweaty with the crowd of supporters.

Opa-locka chooses two commissioners but mayor’s race goes to a runoff

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:10 PM EST

With the vote split four ways, none of the candidates for mayor of Opa-locka got enough votes to be elected Tuesday, so John Taylor, the vice mayor, will face Justo R. Rodriguez in a runoff on Dec. 6.

Taylor, 31, is a Florida Health Department inspector who was elected to the City Commission in 2020 and appointed vice mayor in 2022. Rodriguez, 61, is a self-employed consulting engineer.

Christine Banks, who worked for the city, and Chris Davis, a city commissioner, were eliminated from the race.

Voters did choose two commissioners. Natasha Ervin, 53 and a tax preparer, and incumbent Sherelean Bass placed first and second among eight contenders for the two seats. Audrey Dominguez, also an incumbent, was among the six candidates who lost.

Doral must wait for a runoff to decide who its next mayor will be

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:05 PM EST

Doral will have a runoff election after none of the four people running for mayor won a majority of the vote. In addition, two City Council seats will require a runoff vote.

Only one Doral race – the sole race with only two candidates – was decided Tuesday: Vice Mayor Digna Cabral, the incumbent council member who holds Seat 4, was reelected with 58% of the vote. She beat Juan
Carlos Esquivel.

The remaining seats will be filled by a Dec. 13 election.

The frontrunner in the mayor’s race is Christi Fraga, who won 41% of the vote. Fraga had to resign her school board seat to run. She’s also a former Doral council member.

She’ll face Claudia Mariaca, who got 30%. Mariaca has served on the city council since 2016 and was endorsed by the former mayor, Juan Carlos Bermudez, who resigned earlier this year to run for the Miami-Dade County Commission. Pete Cabrera and Haim Otero were eliminated in Tuesday’s vote.

For Seat 1, Susie Castillo, who won 43% of the vote, will face Rafael A. Pineyro, who got 33%. Francisco ‘Frank’ Gamez and Carlos Pereira were eliminated.

That seat is currently occupied by Mariaca, who’s running for mayor.

Likewise, Seat 2 is currently held by Cabrera, who reached the city’s limit of two terms and could not run for reelection. In that runoff, Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich won 43% of the vote to Maureen Porras’ 38%. Juan Manuel Sucre ran third.

Miami-Dade voters approve property tax rate increase for public schools

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:58 PM EST

Miami-Dade County voters have decided to increase their own taxes to raise millions of dollars for teacher pay and school safety.

The property tax referendum for Miami-Dade County Public Schools passed with 65% of the vote, according to unofficial results – despite the fact that two newly-elected school board members and the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County urged their supporters to vote against it.

“In the midst of a storm our voters have turned out, showed out, but most importantly have stood and affirmed their commitment to education, their commitment to Miami-Dade County Public Schools, their commitment to this community, but most importantly their commitment to our children,” said School Board Vice Chair Steve Gallon.

The measure is a renewal and an increase of a referendum that voters passed overwhelmingly in 2018, to raise millions of dollars to boost teacher pay and more than double the size of the district’s police force.

Yonne Mendez is one of the more than 400,000 Miami-Dade residents who voted yes. She’s a sales manager at the Biltmore Hotel and says her brother is a science teacher at a high school in the district.

“Teachers don’t get paid enough. They really don’t. In that respect, the fact that we even have to have this in question is hurtful because they do so much for our community. They are educating our future,” she said.

Mendez said the prospect of some incoming school board members advocating against the measure is “heartbreaking”.

The approval means the district’s tax rate will increase from .75 mills to 1 mill, or $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value. According to the district, the tax hike will cost the average homeowner about $20 a month, which is roughly $6 more than the current rate.

The measure is estimated to raise $400 million dollars a year over the next four years. Officials had warned if the referendum failed, the impacts to the district’s budget would be dire.

Key West city commission race decided by 18 votes

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:49 PM EST

The Florida Keys had one race Tuesday that couldn’t be called early.

Lissette Cuervo Carey beat Kim Highsmith by 18 votes to take the District 4 seat on the Key West City Commission.

With all five precincts reporting, Carey was on top 50.51% to 49.49%, or 883 votes to Highsmith’s 865, according to election results posted at about 10:15 p.m.

But Highsmith conceded a couple of hours earlier.

"I will not question the results of this election," Highsmith said earlier, at the Harvey Government Center in Key West, where reporters gathered to watch the results.

This was a wide open seat on the seven-member commission. Incumbent Greg Davila didn’t want to run for a second four-year term.

In the August primary, Highsmith came out on top of a four-person race with 46% of the vote.

But it wasn’t enough to win outright and she had to face Carey, who came in second in the primary with 30%, in a runoff held Tuesday.

The campaign took a turn a month after the primary.

On Sept. 20, Highsmith and her stepson were arrested by Key West Police on misdemeanor domestic battery charges.

The charges were dismissed by prosecutors within days, and Highsmith announced she would stay in the race.

Police said Highsmith hit her 18–year-old stepson after he threw water at her during a family dispute at their home.

Carey didn’t make the arrests an issue.

On Tuesday, without mentioning the arrests, Carey said Key West isn’t a place for negative campaigning.

“This is a small island,” Carey said. “We have to see each other at the grocery store. It’s important to have grace with each other.”

Salazar wins closely watched House District 27 by double-digits

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:46 PM EST

At a party in the back of the La Carreta Cuban restaurant, the crowd exuded confidence for their candidate before the numbers were released. Then, the very second the first results came out with Republican Maria Elvira Salazar in a strong position, a collective welp of victory was unleashed.

“Maria Elvira!” chanted the crowd. Shortly after followed chants of “libertad!” Freedom.

In what was widely considered the most competitive congressional race in the state, incumbent Maria Elvira Salazar has won reelection for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, besting opponent Democratic State Senator Annette Taddeo in a landslide 15-point victory.

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The broadly defined anti-socialist and anti-communist fervor that was the hallmark of her campaign was readily apparent, with campaign staff and attendees shouting “comunismo, no!” with many linking Democrats and President Biden to the communism they fled from in Cuba.

“In the last two years the radical left has tried to change the course of this country. But the founding fathers created a system that was too strong and is still standing on the pillars of faith, family and freedom,” Salazar declared in her victory speech.

Salazar’s landslide victory is perhaps the most stand-out bullet point in a political shift that has large implications for all of Florida moving forward: Miami-Dade County voted majority Republican in countywide races for the first time since 2002.

In her concession speech in South Miami, Taddeo registered her frustration with the Democratic Party’s failure to reach out more effectively to Latinos in South Florida.

“We know what’s wrong,” Taddeo said. “We know how to win in Florida, and Florida can be won again. But we need to organize, and we need to realize that you just can’t go, ‘Uh! Florida is done, let’s walk away,’ which is what Democrats do. You know what Republicans do? They lose in Florida and they invest even more, they spend even more time with the people — in English, in Spanish, in Creole.”

Salazar, a Cuban-American, followed her usual strategy and labeled the Colombian-American Taddeo as a “socialist.” Ironically, Taddeo came to America fleeing Marxist guerrillas who had kidnapped her father.

Former Miami Congresswoman Donna Shalala, a Democrat who lost the 27th district seat to Salazar two years ago, echoed Taddeo: "Annette Taddeo was a superb candidate. She had the perfect profile for this district. Republicans turned out their voters; we didn’t turn out our voters. We simply didn’t turn out the Democrats.”

Read the full story here.

Bastien wins Miami-Dade County Commissioner District 2 race

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:37 PM EST

Marleine Bastien, a longtime activist in Miami’s Haitian community, easily won the District 2 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission, beating Philippe Bien-Aime, mayor of North Miami.

Bastien won 59% of the vote to Bien-Aime’s 41%.

She’ll replace Jean Monestime, who won the seat in 2010 as the first Haitian-American on the board. Monestime was term-limited and could not run again this year.

Bastien is the founder of Family Action Network Movement, an organization that provides social services to low-income and working-class residents.

Kevin Cabrera wins Miami-Dade County Commissioner District 6 race

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:35 PM EST
Kevin Cabrera thanks constituents at his watch party in Miami.
Jesse Fraga
/
Special to WLRN News
Kevin Cabrera thanks constituents at his watch party in Miami.

Beat Culture Brewery in Miami was packed wall-to-wall with supporters at Kevin Cabrera’s election results watch party. Cabrera won the election against Jorge Fors for county commissioner of District 6.

The crowd roared with applause when Cabrera entered around 8 p.m.

As the seven TV screens lining the brewery announced Ron DeSantis’ victory, and later Cabrera’s, the mostly Republican crowd stood in awe. Some screamed, others hugged, while the rest watched intently.

Attendees, which consisted of his family, friends and local officials, greeted Cabrera with hugs and cheers as he grinned in appreciation.

“I’m fighting to be a voice for the residents of the small businesses and seniors of District 6 to make sure they are always put first and they are our priority — not special interest, not politicians; nothing else besides our residents,” Cabrera told WLRN.

Miami-Dade County voter Carlos Gutierrez was invited to the watch party after supporting Cabrera for the past six years for his “conservative values.”

“Even though Cabrera is a younger guy, he is very conservative,” Gutierrez says. “He’s trying to save the principles of this nation.”

José Fuentes is a local lobbyist who attended in support. When the results of the win were made official, his positive hopes for District 6 increased.

“I think the differential between Cabrera and Fors was who was better for the district,” said Fuentes, emphasizing he thought Cabrera was the better pick.

About an hour after the results came in, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava entered the brewery. While she did not officially endorse Cabrera, she supported his win.

“I’m very happy to have him as a commissioner,” said Levine Cava. “It’s really important that he helps us make sure we spend our dollars wisely, have efficient and effective government, support our local businesses, help our people be able to afford to live here, and to take care of our environment.”

Demings concedes defeat in Florida Senate race shortly after polls close

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:29 PM EST
Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.,right, speaks to supporters after she was defeated in her election bid, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.
John Raoux
/
AP
Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.,right, speaks to supporters after she was defeated in her election bid, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.

Val Demings would have been the first Black U.S. Senator to represent Florida. The former Orlando police chief outspent and out-fundraised Marco Rubio, but it was not enough to push her to victory.

Demings told her supporters that they still needed to fight to protect crucial constitutional rights, like the right to an abortion.

“And I still believe in our ability to change the world for the better. And though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow. Florida, together, we, we, we are going to fight for our democracy and fight for the American dream, because guess what? It still matters.”

That’s why Demings says her next goal is to help re-elect a Democrat to the White House in 2024.

“But nothing ever worth is is ever easy but I came tonight to tell you it’s worth the fight. We did not get the result we wanted tonight. We can never, ever tire.”

Read more from our sister station WMFE here.

Jared Moskowitz wins 23rd District race

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:11 PM EST
Jared Moskowitz, holding a microphone, gives his victory speech on Tuesday night. He is with State Senator and best friend Shevrin Jones (center).
Gerard Albert III
/
WLRN News
Jared Moskowitz, holding a microphone, gives his victory speech on Tuesday night. He is with State Senator and best friend Shevrin Jones (center).

Florida’s 23rd congressional district has a new representative for the first time in more than a decade.

Jared Moskowitz won the seat Tuesday night over Republican opponent Joe Budd. Moskowitz, the former director of emergency management, started his victory speech with a joke.

"It would not be right to not have this party in the middle of a hurricane," he said.

Dozens of supporters and elected officials crowded under tents at a Parkland restaurant to cheer on Moskowitz. He won by just over 12,000 votes, according to AP.

The 23rd congressional district represents parts of Palm Beach and Broward County. In Broward, Moskowitz won by about 15,000 votes, but in Palm Beach he received around 2,000 fewer votes than his opponent.

"It was a tough night for Democrats around the state, Democrats have to obviously take a look in the mirror statewide, we have to figure out how the party is going to rebuild who should lead that party, and what our message should be," he said.

Moskowitz wrote some of Florida’s new gun laws after the 2018 Parkland shooting. He says that gun control is his first priority in Congress.

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Laura Dominguez leads Miami Beach commissioner race; runoff slated for Dec. 6

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:46 PM EST
Laura Dominguez (left) poses with supporter at a watch party at the Bay Club in Miami Beach.
Rachel Costa
/
Special to WLRN News
Laura Dominguez (left) poses with supporter at a watch party at the Bay Club in Miami Beach.

Laura Dominguez celebrated with her supporters who chanted her name inside the Bay Club in Miami Beach.

“I’m feeling very excited,” said Dominguez. “I worked very hard and so did my team so I’m thrilled to come first in this round.”

Dominguez is ahead in the Miami Beach City Commissioner race with 41.48% of votes. Sabrina Cohen is second with 31.29% of the vote. All precincts have reported results. Since no candidate won 51% of the vote, a runoff election between Dominguez and Cohen will take place on Dec. 6.

Alberto Perez Bermudez, a 52-year-old handyman who lives in Miami Beach, said he knows Dominguez is the right candidate because she will make the changes Miami Beach needs, especially in regards to affordability.

“I do my own research so I find out who is who,” said Bermudez. “I told my family to vote for her because she deserves it.“

After deciding to vote for her, Bermudez volunteered to work for her campaign and pass out flyers during the election.

To her voters, Dominguez sent out a message of gratitude.

“Thank you so much for supporting and believing in me,” she said. “I will be a residents first commissioner and I want to earn everyone else’s votes as well.”

Maria Elvira Salazar wins re-election in the 27th District

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:05 PM EST

Associated Press has called the race for Maria Elvira Salazar, who defeated Annette Taddeo.

Marco Rubio wins third term to U.S. Senate

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:54 PM EST
Sen. Marco Rubio speaks at a campaign rally in West Miami, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
/
AP
Sen. Marco Rubio speaks at a campaign rally in West Miami, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has won a third term, defeating U.S. Rep. Val Demings and holding a key seat as the GOP tried to regain control of a closely divided Senate. Rubio ran a campaign pulled from the Republican playbook, tying Demings to President Joe Biden and hammering her on issues like spending, rising inflation and a crisis at the southern border.

The Republican was helped by shifting voter registration numbers in Florida. The last time Rubio ran for reelection, Democrats had about 327,000 more registered voters than Republicans. That has since flipped, with the GOP now having a nearly 300,000 advantage over Democrats.

Demings was vying to become Florida’s first Black senator. She was Orlando’s first female police chief before being elected to the House six years ago.

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DeSantis reelection bolsters his rise as a GOP star

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:48 PM EST

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection to a second term Tuesday in a victory over Democrat Charlie Crist, bolstering his rise as a prominent GOP star with potential White House ambitions.

DeSantis’ win continues a rightward shift for what was once the nation’s largest swing state, as voters embraced a governor who reveled in culture war politics and framed his candidacy as a battle against the “woke agenda” of liberals.

In the lead-up to the election, DeSantis harnessed the power of incumbency to assemble media, often on short notice and far outside major markets, for news conferences where he would spend significant time honing critiques of Democratic President Joe Biden, liberal policies and the mainstream media, delivered before cheering crowds.

He gained significant national attention during the start of the coronavirus pandemic through his outspoken opposition to continued lockdowns and to mask and vaccine mandates, and eventually displayed an eagerness to wade into nearly any cultural divide, including immigration, gender, education and more.

Read full story here.

Frankel wins re-election in District 22 by double digits

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:47 PM EST
Lois Frankel gives a speech from a watch party on Tuesday night.
Wilkine Brutus
/
WLRN News
Lois Frankel gives a speech from a watch party on Tuesday night.

Democrat incumbent U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel won re-election in the midterm race for Florida's U.S. House District 22 by double digits. The Associated Press called the race for Frankel at 8:34 p.m.

She defeated Republican challenger Dan Franzese, who won his primary by 130 votes. Frankel, who has been in Congress for nearly a decade, ran unopposed in the primary.

The redrawn congressional district now includes parts of West Palm Beach to south toward Delray Beach.

Frankel has shaped most of her campaign priorities around abortion rights, new gun safety laws, protecting Social Security and Medicare. She also advocates for state legislation that funds infrastructure in South Florida, such as the new water treatment plant in Lake Worth Beach.

Franzese, a businessman, ran on economic issues. Franzese, a member of the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee, listed his top priorities to include addressing inflation issues, protecting social security and medicare for seniors, immigration reform and “revitalizing small businesses.”

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Cherfilus-McCormick wins re-election in House District 20

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:34 PM EST

Democrat incumbent Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick won reelection in the midterm race for Florida's U.S. House District 20 congressional seat. The Associated Press called the race for Cherfilus-McCormick at 7:48 p.m.

The majority-minority district, which leans Democrat, includes Riviera Beach, the Glades region, and parts of Broward County.

Cherfilus-McCormick, an attorney and healthcare executive, won by double digits, dominating Republican challenger Drew Montez Clark, a chiropractor who ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Cherfilus-McCormick spent just a few months in office after winning a special election and a primary. She will now be able to serve a full term in Congress.

She told WLRN her main policy priorities and concerns include establishing better economic relations with neighboring countries to stifle the flow of immigrants.

She also aims to address housing availability and property insurance issues.

“With this past hurricane, homeowners insurance is also even a bigger priority,” Cherfilus-McCormick said. “That we have to look at, standardizing that and making sure that we have protections on the federal level.”

WLRN reached out to conservative Drew Montez Clark for comment before the elections but he has not responded to our requests.

Some of Clark's policy priorities, as presented on his website and social media, include better immigration regulation, opposition to abortion, and opposition to gun control.

WLRN touts her congressional record and advocacy on women’s reproductive rights and increasing access to healthcare.

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Democrat Frederica Wilson wins re-election in 24th Congressional District

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:16 PM EST

The Associated Press called the race for Frederica Wilson, who will return to represent the 24th District in the U.S. House. She defeated Republican Jesus Navarro.

Associated Press calls gubernatorial race for Ron DeSantis

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:12 PM EST

Ron DeSantis defeated Democratic challenger Charlie Crist.

Here are the results so far:

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Marco Rubio supporters in good spirits

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:07 PM EST

So far, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is leading the race to retain his Congressional seat he's had since 2011 against Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings.

People are gathering to support Rubio at a Hilton hotel near Miami International Airport.

There, Bob Kunst held a sign that read "Jews for Rubio" outside a ballroom. He’s 80 years old, calls himself a gay activist from Miami Beach and used to vote for Democrats. He’s worried about high prices and immigration into the U.S.

"The Republicans better not disappoint me," he said, wearing a hat supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis and a T-shirt in support of former President Donald Trump.

"The country, I feel, is in grave danger, and Demings certainly isn’t the answer and neither is [Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie] Crist. I don’t know what’s going on anymore with the Democratic party, it’s so off the wall."

Inside the ballroom, a stage has an large American flag behind the podium. People are cheering as Fox News anchors project a good night for Republicans .

Bob Kunst
Veronica Zaragovia
/
WLRN
Bob Kunst

Supporters wait for results at Jared Moskowitz' election night watch party

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:03 PM EST

Dozens of supporters and fellow politicians are in Parkland, where Jared Moskowitz is hosting an election night watch party.

Moskowitz, currently a Broward County Commissioner, is running for Florida’s 23rd congressional seat left vacant by longtime democrat Ted Deutch.

Polls in Broward and Palm Beach counties closed at 7 p.m. Moskowitz's opponent, Republican Joe Budd had more early votes, and fewer mail-in votes. Moskowitz has just under 60% of the vote an hour after polls closed. The results only include mail-in and early votes so far.

The race is closer than other Broward and Palm Beach county congressional races so far. The two counties are the most heavily democratic in the state.

The 23rd congressional district represents parts of northern Broward and southern Palm Beach county. It has been held by a Democrat for over a decade.

First races to be called soon

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:00 PM EST

The first races in Florida will be called as polls close in the Panhandle region at 8 p.m. We have a live counter for all the main Florida races here.

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Voter voices: 'In Venezuela, people underestimated the power of voting'

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:42 PM EST
Ilan Benyes cast his vote 30 minutes before the polls closed at the Aventura Government Center on Nov. 8.
Rachel Costa
/
WLRN
Ilan Benyes cast his vote 30 minutes before the polls closed at the Aventura Government Center on Nov. 8.

There was still a line inside the Aventura Government Center when Ilan Benyes cast his vote 30 minutes before the polls closed.

Benyes, 49, a realtor raised in Venezuela who now lives in Aventura, voted for the first time — and did not take it for granted.

“It’s very important to vote because it’s your voice,” said Benyes. “In my country people underestimated the power of voting and now they have a dictatorship.”

Determined to get his voice heard, he said all issues are important in this election.“There is a saying that says: Even if you don’t care about politics, politics will get into your life so everything is important.”

In Miami Springs, voters show up from the first minute to the last

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:32 PM EST
Miriam Giron takes down voter information signs as the Miami Springs Community Center precinct closes.
Maya Washburn
/
WLRN
Miriam Giron takes down voter information signs as the Miami Springs Community Center precinct closes.

The last couple of voters rushed through the doors of Miami Springs Community Center just 10 minutes before the polls closed. A few hopeful residents were turned away after the clock struck 7 p.m.

A poll worker, Miram Giron, was surprised by the influx of voters today. It was more than she’d seen in recent years.

“During the presidential election, people came out to vote at 6 a.m.,” said Giron. “Today it is not even a presidential election and we had people lining up to vote at 6 a.m. People want to make their voices heard.”

Daniel Fors, 32, brother of Jorge Fors who is running for County Commission District 6, canvassed at the precinct since the early morning in support of his brother.

Daniel Fors holds up campaign flyer in support of his brother Jorge Fors, at Miami Springs Community Center on Nov. 8, 2022.
Jesse Fraga
/
WLRN
Daniel Fors holds up campaign flyer in support of his brother Jorge Fors, at Miami Springs Community Center on Nov. 8, 2022.

“I’m here for my brother, and I’m supporting all the fire and police unions in Miami-Dade County,” Daniel says. “We’ve had very positive support and reception here all day.”

Daniel is most concerned for renters and homeowners. His views also align with his brother, he notes. “I think the number one [issue] has to be affordable housing, not just for young people but for seniors,” he says. “I think the commission’s biggest responsibility is to find balance.”

'Rain or no rain, I have to vote'

Posted November 8, 2022 at 6:57 PM EST

As the last hour of voting arrived, people lined up inside the Aventura Government Center — to vote and escape the rain.

Fluere Crocker cast her ballot at Aventura Government Center on Election Day 2022, Nov. 8.
Rachel Costa
/
WLRN
Fluere Crocker cast her ballot at Aventura Government Center on Election Day 2022, Nov. 8.

Fluere Crocker, 56, a registered nurse originally from the Philippines, arrived to the precinct late from work but said the bad weather would not stop her from casting her ballot. “Rain or no rain, I have to vote," she said.

Inflation, crime — in particular that against the Asian community — and the border are the pressing issues for her this election cycle.

“My 401k, my retirement, has been affected with this present government so I need to vote and do something for not only myself but everybody else who is almost retiring," she said. "We need the money, you know. The number one [factor] for me is the inflation, that is the problem right now.”

Crocker also said she is worried about illegal immigration. “Everybody should be allowed to come here,” she said. “But legally.”

At the Northeast Aventura Branch Library, turnout was light - but many were being turned away because they had come to the incorrect precinct.

The Northeast Aventura Branch Library, a polling precinct for Election Day 2022.
Rachel Costa
/
WLRN
The Northeast Aventura Branch Library, a polling precinct for Election Day 2022.

Robert Gingold, a retired plastic surgeon who lives across the street, was surprised. “I thought I was registered here,” he said. “I always vote here — but I think I vote early here. I live about half a mile away, so I thought this was the place I would be registered.”

Gingold was redirected to the Government Center but that did not discourage him. His main motivation is to elect the people who will do the best for the community. “I’m gonna do it,” he said. “Because it’s important to vote.”

Julia Bexter, who works in the medical field with dialysis, was confused. “I went to vote here for the presidential voting, but I didn’t know for this one it was going to be in a different place,” she said. The main issue on the ballot for her is abortion rights. “I just want women to have all the rights that we deserve, that’s why I came here to vote.”

Small but passionate turnout in Hialeah as Election Day winds down

Posted November 8, 2022 at 6:14 PM EST
Lily Sosa, and daughter, arrive at Immaculate Conception Church in Hialeah to vote on Election Day 2022, Nov. 8.
Maya Washburn
/
WLRN
Lily Sosa, and daughter, arrive at Immaculate Conception Church in Hialeah to vote on Election Day 2022, Nov. 8.

Amid light rain — and under a bright rainbow — there was a short line of voters at Immaculate Conception Church in Hialeah. Those who did turn out, however, were passionate about casting their ballots.

Miguel Cubas, who originally hails from Cuba, lives only a couple of blocks away from the voting site. He said that the first thing he wanted to do when moving to the U.S. was vote, and socialism is top of mind for him.

“I know what the nature of living in a socialist country is like,” said Cubas, who is a Republican. “I have that experience myself. That’s why I am voting here today.” Cubas said he is happy with how things are going in Florida and that he is “100% sure” that Ron DeSantis will remain governor.

Lily Sosa arrived at the voting site after she picked her daughter up from school. A public school administrator, she is voting primarily to increase teacher pay and maintain school safety, through Miami-Dade County's referendum 210.

“I want to make sure teachers get the salaries they deserve,” said Sosa. “My main priority always is to make sure that we have a good education system and that we are safe, especially with all the events happening in schools. That’s why I like to support the police and teachers.”

Carol and Emilio Gonzalez turned out for Republican candidates at Immaculate Conception Church in Hialeah on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.
Jesse Fraga
/
WLRN
Carol and Emilio Gonzalez turned out for Republican candidates at Immaculate Conception Church in Hialeah on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.

Truck drivers Emilio, 63, and Carol Gonzalez, 68, said they were also supporters of the referendum. Carol said her daughter is a teacher in Miami Gardens and she thinks educators deserve higher wages.

“Every year the rent is going up for her and she can barely survive,” Carol said. “They should [get raises]. They are teaching our children.”

The pair studied the sample ballot prior to voting today, but they told WLRN their mission to vote for “any Republican on the ballot,” did not change. “We need to get our country back. It’s bad,” Emilio said.

They’re most passionate about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mission to allow parents of elementary school students to choose which topics are covered in the classroom; they pointed to the contentious "Parental Rights in Education Act," HB 1557. Opponents — who call it the "Don't Say Gay" bill — argue it would further marginalize the LGBTQ+ community.

“If the parents want to teach [gender identity and sexual orientation], that’s their right,” Carol says. “It’s not the right of the school, and it’s not the right of the government.”

Dialic Diaz canvasses outside Immaculate Conception Church - she must wait another year for her first chance to vote.
Maya Washburn
/
WLRN
Dialic Diaz canvasses outside Immaculate Conception Church - she must wait another year for her first chance to vote.

Dialic Diaz, 18, has been sitting across the street from the voting site since 7 a.m. to canvas for Vivian Casáls-Muñoz, a Republican running for seat 4 on the Hialeah City Council. Diaz must wait one more year until she is eligible to vote, as she moved to the U.S. from Cuba.

“I think it's important to vote because we need some change,” said Diaz. “If you want that change, vote.”

A legislative supermajority is possible for Republicans in Florida

Posted November 8, 2022 at 5:41 PM EST

Republicans already control the Florida Legislature. But the outcome of just a few races in Tuesday’s election could make that control even greater.

If Republicans gain just four more seats in the House and four more seats in the Senate, the party will control two-thirds of the votes in both chambers of the state legislature. That would give them a supermajority.

Retired University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus said holding a supermajority will put Republicans in near total control of debate in the legislature.

“It minimizes the opposition party's ability to change the rules of debate,” MacManus said. “And, sometimes, how you conduct floor debate and floor votes or whatever ... can be related to how long something is discuss and so forth."

Read the full story here.

Voter voices: Abortion rights trump inflation concerns for one Deerfield Beach resident

Posted November 8, 2022 at 5:15 PM EST

Jennifer Burns, who lives in Deerfield Beach, told WLRN the no. 1 issue that’s brought her to the polls this election is abortion.

“I don't think that lawmakers, especially male lawmakers, should be deciding what I can do with my body. To me, abortion is about a woman's right to choose,” she said, adding that even if abortion was not on the ballot she would still be casting her vote.

More than a third of voters cite inflation as their main concern this election cycle, according to an NPR/PBSNewshour/Marist poll.

But Burns said, “I'm not discounting the fact that our dollars aren't going as far as they used to. That is a very real issue. But I feel like a vote can’t cure that overnight. You're not going to immediately see more money in your pocket if you vote for one way or the other."

Burns voted early on Sunday. The gubernatorial and senate races were the most important races on the ballot for her.

“I see an awful lot of DeSantis signs, in the yards, and Rubio signs in the yards. I didn't even realize that there was so much Republican support in my neighborhood. And so that even encourages me more,” she said. “I want to make sure that my vote is counted for Democrats.”

Burns shared what’s driving her to the polls this election season via WLRN’s open call-out. We want to hear from you too. Tell us what’s driving you to the polls here.

Miami-Beach voters decide on eight referendum questions

Posted November 8, 2022 at 4:58 PM EST

In Miami Beach, between spurts of rain, voters came in and out of polling centers in the last few hours of Election Day.

Residents faced numerous ballot questions that have been the subject of strong campaigning — such as referendum 1, over the future of the Deauville Hotel site, and three questions about the city’s plan to develop parking lots by Lincoln Road into mixed-use office, retail and residential buildings.

At City Hall, Jose Vizcaino said he voted against all of those. “Because I think that the issue is we’re gonna get all this money, but it’s not clear enough when the Miami Beach community is going to get it,” he said, adding that proponents should have provided more information to the city’s residents.

He added: “I voted Republican across the board because I really feel we really do need a change for the better. The price of gasoline is very high, especially here on the beach... with everything going on, we’re paying top dollar for it.”

Miami Beach's City Hall, a polling precinct, on 2022 Election Day, Nov. 8.
Veronica Zaragovia
/
WLRN
Miami Beach's City Hall, a polling precinct, on 2022 Election Day, Nov. 8.

Kevin Duvall, who moved to the city about two years ago from Washington, D.C., said he voted in favor of the Lincoln Road project but is against a "tall building" being developed at the Deauville site.

"I came out to vote for those two reasons, basically," he said. "I was told that the [Deauville site] buildings are going to be too tall and going to block the view of everyone else who’s living here. And then Lincoln Road, they need to redevelop it. So that’s why I voted those ways.”

Ricardo Gonzalez, a Cuban-American Republican voter, said he voted for Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. When asked about the questions pertaining to Miami Beach, he said he felt so disillusioned by the city’s elected officials that he purposely left those blank – including the replacement for Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who died in June. 

“There are so many bike thefts,” added Gonzalez, who rides his bike to get around after his car was towed. He said the city’s plants and trees are not kept up and it’s hard to walk on the sidewalk. “Frankly, the way Miami Beach is going, I’m not going to vote on any issues that help the city continue doing bad things. Miami Beach needs to be cleaned up. These officials don’t do anything.”

It’s the Hispanics, stupid

Posted November 8, 2022 at 4:35 PM EST
A bilingual sign stands outside a polling center at a public library ahead of local elections on April 28 in Austin, Texas.
John Moore
/
Getty Images
A bilingual sign stands outside a polling center at a public library ahead of local elections on April 28 in Austin, Texas.

If, electorally, Miami-Dade County does go from purple to red Tuesday night, Hispanic voters will be a key — if not THE key — reason. For the general election of 2020, there were only 36,000 more Hispanics registered Republican in Miami-Dade than Democrat. For the mid-term elections, that gap has skyrocketed to more than 81,000.

Not surprisingly, the Dems’ share of the Miami-Dade Hispanic electorate (251,168) slipped another 2 points in the past two years, to 27.5%, while the GOP’s Hispanic share (332,334) grew to more than 36%. Perhaps even more distressing for Democrats, no-party-affiliation (NPA) voters account for more than 34% (313,881) of the county’s Hispanic bloc.

All that matters acutely because Hispanics make up almost 70% of Miami-Dade’s population and 60% of its electorate, or more than 900,000 registered voters.

Democrats were sharply criticized in 2020 for lax and unimaginative outreach to Hispanics, especially in Florida and South Florida - where they were largely caught flat-footed by the GOP’s false but effective accusations that Joe Biden and Democrats were “socialistas” and allies of left-wing authoritarians in Latin America. Republicans, meanwhile, had a robust, on-the-ground Hispanic engagement in place, especially on Spanish-language media.

Much of the Hispanic GOP growth is focused on the Cuban community. It represents half of Miami-Dade’s Hispanic population and has shifted hard right politically in recent years, especially when former President Trump put more political and economic pressure on communist Cuba.

The other half is comprised mostly of Colombians, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. Republicans are believed to have made significant gains with those groups - in no small part by conveying the harder line against not only Cuba but other socialist dictatorships in Latin America, including Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Puerto Ricans, the other large Hispanic community in Miami-Dade, are estimated to lean Democrat. But analysts say the GOP is even making inroads with them.

Democrats have more total registered voters than the GOP in Miami-Dade (more than 577,000 vs. 441,000, with 492,000 listed as NPA). And nationally there are still more Hispanics registered as Democrats than as Republicans. While Hispanics are largely responsible for helping Trump win 58% more votes in Miami-Dade in 2020 than he did in 2016, Biden still won two-thirds of the U.S. Hispanic vote.

In Palm Beach County, Democrat turnout is outpacing Republican

Posted November 8, 2022 at 4:15 PM EST

In Palm Beach County, registered Democrats are so far leading overall voter turnout against Republicans by more than 27,000 votes; 200,000 to just over 170,000.

As of 3:40 pm, nearly 49% of people voted in Palm Beach County out of the more than 1 million active eligible voters.

NPA, or No Party Affiliation, is a growing constituency in a county that has long leaned blue. They're at reasonable third, making their voice heard with more than 106,000 votes. It's yet another sign that independent voters in the county are shifting the electorate to purple.

Democrat still lead all active registered voters in Palm Beach County with more than 390,000 voters. Republicans, though growing bloc, is still behind by 100,000 voters.

Total ballots by party in Palm Beach County as of 3:40 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2022.
Total ballots by party in Palm Beach County as of 3:40 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2022.

Confusion at Westchester Regional Library in Miami-Dade

Posted November 8, 2022 at 4:02 PM EST

A steady stream of voters are showing up to vote at Westchester Regional Library, with many being told they have to vote elsewhere.

Republican campaign workers are convinced that only Republican voters are being turned away, although two non-party affiliated voters told WLRN they were also turned away. Similar situations happen nearly every election, especially at precincts that double as early voting locations.

A campaign staffer with Republican State Sen. Ileana Garcia called the campaign headquarters to make note of the complaints.

Poll observers with the Department of Justice are on scene. They took note of poll workers pushing WLRN and Telemundo reporters far beyond the 150 foot line from the polling site, as per state statutes. It's unclear what they will do with that information.

Elpidio Morejón, 89, voted at Westchester Regional Library on Nov. 8, 2022.
Danny Rivero
/
WLRN
Elpidio Morejón, 89, voted at Westchester Regional Library on Nov. 8, 2022.

Nevertheless, many people have cast ballots at the site. Elpidio Morejón, 89, cast a vote for "all Republicans up and down." He voted 'no' on the Miami-Dade School Board referendum that would increase pay for teachers and fund the presence of police officers in schools, as required by Florida law. "It's going to raise our taxes," he said.

Jose Diaz, 19, told WLRN that he registered to vote several months ago with canvassers at the Miami-Dade College Kendall campus. Yet he never received a voter registration card.

He showed up at the Westchester Regional Library hopeful that somehow he might be able to cast the first ballot in his life. But poll workers said he is not registered. "I guess it means that I have to sit this one out," he said. "I'm not that upset about it to be honest, but I guarantee you that next election I'll be voting."

Jose Diaz tried to vote at Westchester Regional Library on Nov. 8 but was told he is not registered.
Danny Rivero
/
WLRN
Jose Diaz tried to vote at Westchester Regional Library on Nov. 8 but was told he is not registered.

Meanwhile Jose Torres, 29, was redirected to a different precinct, but said he plans to vote 'yes' on the schools referendum. "The state of our public schools is not very good and they need all the resources they can get," he said.

'Teachers don't get paid enough': Miami-Dade schools referendum motivates some voters

Posted November 8, 2022 at 3:36 PM EST

There was a slow but steady stream of voters heading into Silver Bluff Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon.

Yonne Mendez, a sales manager at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, said her main motivation to go to the polls this year was to renew a property tax to fund teacher pay and safety initiatives in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Mendez says she’s a product of MDCPS and her brother teaches science at a district high school, which motivated her even more to vote yes on the referendum.

“Teachers don’t get paid enough. They really don’t,” she said. “In that respect, the fact that we even have to have this in question is hurtful because they do so much for our community. They are educating our future.”

The Republican Party of Miami-Dade County and two newly-elected members of the school board, Roberto Alonso and Monica Colucci, have been telling supporters not to vote for the referendum, which would raise about $400 million a year.

Noelle Bazzi, a real estate agent who cast her vote at Silver Bluff Elementary, says she feels no responsibility to fund public schools because her kids are grown and her grandkids attend private school.

“We pay for the public schools and we don’t use them,” she said. “They should make people pay for public schools…the people who send their kids to the public schools.”

MDCPS officials have warned that if the measure fails, it would have drastic impacts on the district’s budget and would force significant funding cuts.

Campaign signage outside Silver Bluff Elementary School, a polling precinct in Miami-Dade County, on Nov. 8, 2022.
Kate Payne
/
WLRN
Campaign signage outside Silver Bluff Elementary School, a polling precinct in Miami-Dade County, on Nov. 8, 2022.

Young voters turn out in Palm Beach County

Posted November 8, 2022 at 2:52 PM EST
Forest Hopkins, a 22-year-old marine biology student at Florida Atlantic University, tells WLRN abortion rights and LGBTQ issues are key reasons that drove him to the polls on Election Day.
Wilkine Brutus
/
WLRN
Forest Hopkins, a 22-year-old marine biology student at Florida Atlantic University, tells WLRN abortion rights and LGBTQ issues are key reasons that drove him to the polls on Election Day.

Young voters at the at the Lantana Road Branch Library weighed in on what drove them to vote in today's midterm elections in Palm Beach County.

Forest Hopkins is a 22-year-old marine biology student at Florida Atlantic University. He considers himself a staunch leftist and worries about the economy. But he says abortion rights and LGBTQ issues are the key reasons for voting.

"I’m also very gay, so the “Don’t say Gay” act is extremely concerning," Hopkins said. "I want to make sure that however much I’m able to do, I would like to do."

Daniel Wright, a 27-year-old barber in Palm Beach County, casts his ballot on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.
Wilkine Brutus
/
WLRN
Daniel Wright, a 27-year-old barber in Palm Beach County, casts his ballot on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.

Daniel Wright is a 27-year-old barber who worries about the rising cost of living. He says civic engagement is his way of coping with what he sees as moral and political divisiveness in the country. He was moved by the voting experience.

"I was in there about to cry, dude," Wright said. "It’s powerful, bro. It’s powerful because you’re trying to make a change. And it may seem like so minute, like you’re so small, but it’s not."

Polls in South Florida close today at 7 p.m.

Gimenez looks ahead in Florida's new 28th District. But Asencio hopes to 'marshal' Dem potential

Posted November 8, 2022 at 2:30 PM EST

Republican U.S. Representative Carlos Gimenez is a heavy favorite to win Florida’s new 28th congressional district in the midterm elections. But Democratic challenger Robert Asencio believes the state’s southern tip holds large untapped potential for his party.

“People are tired and they want change. And in spite of hearing the rhetoric, the chatter, the blame, they want to do better,” said Asencio.

He is a former police officer and Florida state representative. As a Puerto Rican, Asencio says he understands the economic struggles of the 28th District’s mostly Latino and minority residents. South Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties are known for low-wage service and agricultural jobs.

Read more here.

Former Florida state Rep. Robert Asencio (left) is the Democratic challenger to Republican Miami Congressman Carlos Gimenez in the state's new 28th congressional district, including South Dade and Monroe Counties.
Lynne Sladky (right)
/
Florida House of Representatives (left), AP
Former Florida state Rep. Robert Asencio (left) is the Democratic challenger to Republican Miami Congressman Carlos Gimenez in the state's new 28th congressional district, including South Dade and Monroe Counties.

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In Palmetto Bay, voters are split on Taddeo vs. Salazar

Posted November 8, 2022 at 2:22 PM EST
Democratic Colombian-American state Sen.Annette Taddeo speaks to a crowd after she voting at the Coral Reef library polling site.
Tim Padgett
/
WLRN
Democratic Colombian-American state Sen.Annette Taddeo speaks to a crowd after she voting at the Coral Reef library polling site.

One of the few competitive congressional races in South Florida is the 27th District contest between the Republican incumbent, former TV journalist and Cuban-American Maria Elvira Salazar (who won the seat only two years ago), and her Democratic challenger, Colombian-American state Sen. Annette Taddeo.

At the Coral Reef library polling site in Palmetto Bay — where Taddeo voted in the morning — voters not surprisingly seemed evenly split on the candidates.

“I voted for Maria Elvira,” said Darien Hernandez of Kendall, a Cuban exile who came to the U.S. a decade ago from Havana and is now a fuel station supervisor at Miami-Dade International Airport.

“I think she’s working more for those of us like Cubans and Venezuelan people coming here. She’s the best choice for us in Congress.”

But Monica Cabanillas, a Peruvian-born financial executive who also lives in Kendall, voted for Taddeo because she felt the Democrat campaigned more on policy issues while Salazar, she said, spent too much time trying to cast Taddeo as a “socialist.”

“Policies that are simply aimed at the greater good of the community shouldn’t be shamed as ’socialist,’” Cabanillas said. “That’s extremist rhetoric.”

Latino voters like Cubans, Peruvians and especially Colombians will be key to the 27th District race. Cabanillas said residents in her mostly Latino community are “split 50-50" on Taddeo and Salazar.

DOJ to monitor polling places in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties

Posted November 8, 2022 at 2:00 PM EST

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it plans to monitor a list of polling places in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, to ensure “compliance with federal voting rights laws.”

In a press release, the agency said it will also take complaints from the public through its call center regarding possible violations.

Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters,” the release said.

The Department of Justice did not provide a reason for why it is monitoring polling places in the three South Florida counties. The agency is also sending monitors to 61 other jurisdictions in 23 other states.

In response to the DOJ’s announcement, the Florida Secretary of State office said the agency’s actions would violate state law and disrupt elections. According to Florida Politics, Florida’s State Department now plans to send its own observers to those counties.

In Little Havana, inflation is top of mind

Posted November 8, 2022 at 1:41 PM EST

Voters have been casting their ballots at Kensington Park Elementary School in Little Havana since very early, many arriving before heading to work — coffee in hand.

Antonio Sanchez wanted to make sure that he got his vote in before work, although that didn’t happen. Because he had moved, his precinct changed. He said that poll workers were able to help him find his new precinct and that he’ll get it sorted out after work.

For the 58-year-old, who is a small business owner, the main concern in this election is inflation.

“The inflation... is very high,” he said. “It’s very difficult for normal people to buy the necessary products. I think it's important that each voter speaks out with the priority that all this can be resolved or for us to find a better solution, because we are really going through very difficult times.”

Maria Molina said that for her, the voting process was “very good” and “fast”. She says that she always votes on Election Day. “I really like to vote on this day because it’s the day that I think we should [vote],” said Molina.

Kensington Park Elementary School’s polling location will be open until 7 p.m. tonight. Remember, if you are in line by 7 p.m., you’ll be able to cast your vote.

Kensington Park Elementary School in Little Havana, Miami, on Election Day 2022.
Helen Acevedo
/
WLRN
Kensington Park Elementary School in Little Havana, Miami, on Election Day 2022.

Voter turnout in Florida Keys nears 46%

Posted November 8, 2022 at 12:30 PM EST
Florida Keys-polling-precinct.jpg
Gwen Filosa
/
WLRN
Polling precinct in the Florida Keys.

By Tuesday morning, voter turnout in the Florida Keys was nearing 46%, according to the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections.This was due largely to the number of people who voted early or mailed in ballots. About 5,100 had voted in person so far.

In Key West, the precinct at the Moose Lodge was busy, said poll worker Mary Herdan.

“People were lined out the door this morning at 8 o’clock,” she said.

Helen Colley and her husband Michael Miller left the precinct, 700 Eisenhower Drive, saying they always vote.

“To keep certain parties out,” Colley said.

Key West has nearly 15,000 registered voters — a blue dot in county and state that has grown redder. More than 6,400 voters in Key West are Democrats while nearly 3,800 are registered as not having a party affiliation.

But Keys-wide, most voters are Republicans.

Poll workers in the Keys hand out small “I Voted” stickers that feature a conch shell, the symbol of the island chain.

Quiet but steady turnout at the Surfside polling location

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:49 AM EST
A group of people cross the street to cast their ballots in the 2022 midterm election in Surfside, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2022.
Elisa Baena
/
WLRN
A group of people cross the street to cast their ballots in the 2022 midterm election in Surfside, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2022.

Outside the Surfside Town Hall during the first hours of election day, neighbors kissed each other on the cheek and chatted on the sidewalk. Voter turnout was quiet, but steady in the small beach town.

Regino Sanchez said his voting experience was simple and easy. He was focused on abortion rights this election day.

“I'm in favor of a woman’s right to choose. I just feel it’s important that we send a message that those rights are important. Once they’re gone, they’re gone," Sanchez said.

There were parents with kids before school, couples in the midst of their morning walk and people on their way to work. One man pasted his voting sticker on the head of his poodle waiting outside.

Fabian Basabe was canvassing for his son, also named Fabian Basabe, who's a Republican running for State Representative in District 106, which covers Miami Beach from Fisher Island to Aventura.
Elisa Baena
/
WLRN
Fabian Basabe was canvassing for his son, also named Fabian Basabe, who's a Republican running for State Representative in District 106, which covers Miami Beach from Fisher Island to Aventura.

Fabian Basabe was canvassing for his son who is also named Fabian Basabe. He’s a Republican running for State Representative in District 106, which covers Miami Beach from Fisher Island to Aventura.

“Thank you for your vote,” Basabe Sr. told voters.

Voting slowed down in the late morning as rain clouds shaded the streets. Basabe Sr. was still canvassing for his son in the rain. When a Surfside resident approached him in the parking lot, asking about Basabe Jr.’s stance on Israel, he called up his son so that he could explain it himself to the voter.

Democrats hope abortion pushes more voters to the polls on Election Day

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:19 AM EST
People gathered outside of the Tower Theater in Little Havana to host a prayer and hold signs against abortion rights on the evening of Oct. 11, 2022. They gathered across the street from an event in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, who supports abortion rights.
Verónica Zaragovia
People gathered outside of the Tower Theater in Little Havana to host a prayer and hold signs against abortion rights on the evening of Oct. 11, 2022. They gathered across the street from an event in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, who supports abortion rights.

Inflation and the economy are top of mind for most voters, according to the analytics firm Gallup.

Democrats hope another topic will be the deciding factor to drive many voters to the polls: abortion and the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022.

The issue of abortion access drew people out to Little Havana last month, where Latinas for Choice organized an event at Ball & Chain featuring Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist and his nominee for lieutenant governor, Karla Hernández-Mats.

Before the event began at Ball & Chain on Calle Ocho, a group of nine people stood across the street. They formed a line, next to each other, and prayed outside of the Tower Theater. They held images of La Virgen Guadalupe and signs against abortion rights. Madelyn Ocasio said she wants Gov. Ron DeSantis to get re-elected and hopes he and the Florida Legislature further restrict abortion access in Florida.

“We have to exercise our right to vote to elect candidates who safeguard life,” Ocasio said in Spanish. “We are peaceful. We are praying for people to have a change of heart”, she said about women choosing to carry a pregnancy to term instead of having an abortion.

Across the street, Ana Angulo waited to get inside Ball & Chain. Angulo also voted for DeSantis in the last election. This time, she said she, unlike Ocasio, felt conflicted.

“I am concerned [about abortion rights] — it doesn’t take away from the job DeSantis has done in Florida,” Angulo said. “He has done good.”

Angulo works in healthcare administration, and said parenting is an important decision. One that should not be left up to politicians to make. She came to hear what these Democratic candidates had to say and knew the decision would be a hard one for her.

“As a woman, it’s a choice that belongs to women, a privilege and this is what this country has been about — the freedom that we had, that we can choose as a woman. We don’t want politicians to be in the middle. Just leave us alone,” she said.

Inside the crowded venue, Charlie Crist said he knows how important choice is to women. “I was raised by three sisters,” Crist said. “You deserve a governor who will fight for your freedom. He signed this bill in the spring – 15-week bill, and it doesn’t even have exceptions for rape or incest. Who does that? That is barbaric. Who would require a young girl to have a baby from a rapist?”

Crist was referring to the new Florida law that went into effect on July 1. It prohibits most abortions in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy, unless two doctors certify that the woman will die without having an abortion or that the fetus has a fatal condition.

Abortion providers sued to block the law. Judge John Cooper in Leon County ruled in their favor. They argued that the measure violates the state’s constitutional right to privacy. Florida’s state government appealed Cooper’s ruling, which put the 15-week ban back into effect. Planned Parenthood has filed an appeal with the Florida Supreme Court.

DeSantis has not specified what his plans on abortion restrictions will be, if he wins a second term. After the SCOTUS ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade in June, he vowed to expand “pro-life protections.”

Nicole strengthens into a tropical storm, threatens Bahamas and Florida coastline

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:49 AM EST

Subtropical Storm Nicole began strengthening and transitioning into a tropical storm early Tuesday as it churned toward the northwestern Bahamas and Florida’s Atlantic coastline, forecasters said.

“There are indications in the satellite imagery and recognizance aircraft that the system may be trying to evolve into a more classic tropical cyclone and could become a full-blown tropical storm later today,” Jack Bevin, a senior hurricane specialist at the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning.

A range of warnings and watches remain in place. Many areas are still reeling from damage caused by Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida’s southwestern Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm in late September, before dumping heavy amounts of rain across much of central part of the state.

Read more here.

Crist and Demings host 'election eve' in Broward County rally to push Democrats to polls

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:13 AM EST
Democratic nominee for Florida governor Charlie Crist hits his campaign points, especially abortion rights, during a so-called "election eve" rally in Wilton Manors, in Broward County.
Gerard Albert III
/
WLRN
Democratic nominee for Florida governor Charlie Crist hits his campaign points, especially abortion rights, during a so-called "election eve" rally in Wilton Manors, in Broward County.

Democratic candidates Charlie Crist and Val Demings hosted a rally in Wilton Manors on Monday, pushing people to vote and encourage their peers to vote during their last-minute “election eve” rally.

Broward County is home to the most registered Democratic voters out of any county in Florida. However, this year, Broward has seen low early-voter turnout compared to other counties in South Florida.

“I know you know this: when we vote we win/ It’s true, how many of you have voted, raise your hand. God bless you. Thank god y'all got out there and you voted. But our work is not done yet,” Crist said.

Their Republican opponents, incumbents Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio, also hosted events in South Florida the day before the general election as part of their last-ditch efforts to drum up support.

Data posted on the state Division of Elections website on Monday, showed that, out of the 4,789,974 Floridians who had voted by mail or at early voting sites, registered Republicans were outpacing Democrats by about 320,000 ballots.

Annette Taddeo casts her ballot at Palmetto Bay polling place

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:07 AM EST

Florida’s voter fraud arrests are scaring away formerly incarcerated voters

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:58 AM EST
Tampa Bay police carrying out the arrest of a Tony Patterson, one of 20 people arrested for alleged voter fraud during the 2020 election.
Screenshot of Tampa Bay Times video
Tampa Bay police carrying out the arrest of a Tony Patterson, one of 20 people arrested for alleged voter fraud during the 2020 election.

For years, Derrick Oliver has traveled across the state of Alabama helping register formerly incarcerated people to vote. Most often, he says he spends his time correcting the misinformation that any Alabamian with a felony conviction has permanently lost the right to vote.

But this year he encountered an overwhelming barrier: fear.

In August, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the arrests of several formerly incarcerated people for voter fraud because they had cast ballots in the 2020 election, despite having a disqualifying felony conviction. News and videos showing their confusion and dismay as they were arrested aired on TV news stations and major media outlets across the country.

“Immediately, our phones were blowing up,” Oliver said. “People want to know, ‘Hey, did you hear about this? What's going on with it? Does this affect us in Alabama?’”

During a press conference just days before Florida’s primary election, DeSantis billed the arrests as the “opening salvo” of an office that was set up on July 1 to investigate election crimes. Voting rights experts have widely panned the move as the latest GOP-led effort to cast doubt on election integrity and discredit the 2020 election results.

In conversations with several formerly incarcerated people and nine volunteers working to register the people with felony convictions in several states, The Marshall Project found that Florida’s raids reverberated well beyond the state’s borders.

Read more of The Marshall Project's reporting here.

Voter voices: Health care and abortion drives one Palm Beach County resident to the polls

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:29 AM EST
Linda Kramer, 74, of Palm Beach Gardens says health care and abortion are important issues for her this election.
Linda Kramer
Linda Kramer, 74, of Palm Beach Gardens says health care and abortion are important issues for her this election.

More than 4.7 million Floridians cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 8 election. WLRN has been speaking to some of these voters to hear about the issues driving them to the polls.

For Linda Kramer in Palm Beach Gardens, health care, particularly abortion access, is front and center this election. The 74-year-old recalled when Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that gave people the right to access abortion legally, passed in 1973. It was life-changing for women, she said.

Kramer believes the issue of abortion isn't just a matter of health care, the issue also affects the economy — citing the associated costs of delivering and then raising a child.

"It really is an economic issue as well," she said.

She'll never forget when her friend had to go to Puerto Rico to have an abortion before Roe v. Wade became law. Traveling to places outside mainland U.S. was common to get the procedure in the 1960s and 1970s.

Read more: Abortion and inflation collide as top issues in midterm elections

"It was not anything I would ever have wanted to have gone through. And I was sorry that she had to. And I remember she had to do that — that was the choice she had to make at that point in her life," Kramer said.

Kramer cast her vote-by-mail ballot ahead of Election Day. She said she hasn't missed an election since she was 18. Growing up, she even accompanied her parents in the voting booth.

"No one really had to push you to do it. It was just something that you kind of knew to do," she said.

Kramer, now retired, previously worked as a former union representative, negotiating healthcare benefits for employees. The job, she said, reinforced her position on abortion rights, health care and Medicaid expansion.

Exasperated by party infighting and inaction, Kramer, who has voted as a long-time Democrat, said she registered as an independent after the 2020 presidential election.

She hopes that people start to see the benefits of voting and how it can help change policies, referring to when voters approved increasing minimum wage in the state, when lawmakers fall short of passing legislation to do that.

"The legislators, unfortunately, not all, but many truly don't identify with what Americans are going through every day just to take care of their families," she said.

DeSantis issues state of emergency for Florida's east coast on Election Day

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:30 AM EST

Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a State of Emergency for 34 counties ahead of Subtropical Storm Nicole. Those counties include: Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia counties.

The Division of Emergency Management is urging residents to make sure they have multiple ways to receive weather alerts and sign up for communications from their local emergency management. The Division also recommends reviewing your evacuation zone and your home’s ability to withstand heavy rain and winds.

Residents should be on the lookout for evacuation orders or shelters opening over the next 24 to 36 hours. Election Day on Tuesday may complicate preparations as public schools serve both as polling places and emergency shelters in many areas.

Read more here.

The midterms will mark the end of an era of Miami-Dade politics

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:12 AM EST
David Santiago/ The Miami Herald

Tuesday will mark the end of an era of Miami-Dade politics and the beginning of a new one.

In 2012 voters in Miami-Dade County approved a ballot measure that created a two four-year term limit for members of the county commission. The term limits began going into effect in 2020, and the last of the old timers will be termed out this week.

The ballot measure was passed just a year after voters recalled County Mayor Carlos Alvarez over the universally reviled fiasco of Marlins stadium deal. Voters wanted new blood in the county commission that went along with the mayor for the deal, but that is an uphill battle when it comes to defeating incumbents who have occupied the seats for so long, and who have political patronage and funding networks set up to keep them in office.

Commissioner Javier Souto, for example, has served on the commission since 1993; Rebecca Sosa has served since 2001; Jose “Pepe” Diaz since 2002; Sally Heyman since 2002; and commissioner Jean Monestime since 2010.

All of these commissioners are now termed out.

In District 6, which Sosa is vacating, Kevin Cabrera, the Florida manager for President Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, is facing off with Jorge Fors Jr., a Coral Gables commissioner. Cabrera has earned an endorsement from Trump himself, while Fors Jr. has been endorsed by Sosa, who won reelection in 2018 with 78 percent of the vote. Even though the race is technically non-partisan, both candidates are Republicans, and they represent different sides of the Republican spectrum.

In District 12, Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez won the race to replace Diaz in the August primary election. Bermudez, quite ironically, received an endorsement from President Trump as well as from Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat.

Miami Beach Commissioner Micky Steinburg won the seat to replace Heyman in District 4 without even having to face voters in an election. She was the only candidate who qualified for the seat, so she won it by default.

In District 2 that represents large segments of Black Miami-Dade County, North Miami Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime is facing off on Tuesday with Marleine Bastien, the founder and director of the Family Action Network Movement, a non-profit organization that helps low-income residents. Commissioner Monestime, who is termed out, was the first Haitian-American elected to the Miami-Dade commission, and whoever wins the race will also be representing Haitian-Americans on the commission.

The new commissioners will take office on November 22.

Polls are open in South Florida

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:45 AM EST
MATIAS J. OCNER
/
Miami Herald

It’s Election Day and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Several races will be decided, including the race for the governor, U.S. House and Senate and Florida attorney general. Voters across South Florida also have multiple local decisions to make on their ballots.

Below are the polling places in Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties. These locations will differ from those during the early voting period. If you’re unsure about where you should cast your ballot, check your voter registration card or your county’s supervisor of elections website to confirm your polling place.

Here are the links for each county:
- Broward
- Miami-Dade
- Monroe
- Palm Beach

Where can I hand in my mail ballot?

Below is a list of the various locations where you can drop off your ballot across South Florida.

- In Miami-Dade, it’s in Doral — 2700 NW 87th Ave. or the government center in downtown Miami — 111 NW 1st St.
- In Broward, that’ll be at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections — 1501 NW 40th Avenue, Lauderhill.
- In Palm Beach, you can take it to any of the county’s elections offices which you can find at the bottom of this page.
- In Monroe that’s in Key West — 530 Whitehead St. #101, Marathon — 10015 Overseas Hwy., or Key Largo — 102050 Overseas Hwy #137.

What if I requested a mail ballot, but now I want to vote today?

You can still do that, but you have to bring your mail-in ballot with you when you vote, so the elections department can confirm that you didn't send it in and cancel your mail ballot.

Is there a way to check the status of my mail-in ballot?

Yes, you can do that through your county's supervisor of elections website by entering your voter information at the following links:

- Broward
- Miami-Dade
- Monroe
- Palm Beach

Get all the information you need to know to vote today here.

DeSantis makes final pitch to voters on Election Day eve

Posted November 8, 2022 at 6:46 AM EST
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to a crowd of Republicans on Monday in Palm Beach County to drum up support ahead of Election Day.
Wilkine Brutus / WLRN
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to a crowd of Republicans on Monday in Palm Beach County to drum up support ahead of Election Day.

Incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday made his final pitch to voters at a meet-and-greet in Palm Beach County, the day before Election Day. DeSantis mentioned border issues and for American energy production to be "energy independent."

The gubernatorial candidate drew supporters of all ages, including 66-year-old Palm Beach County native Larry Dyer III. The builder and project manager said he and his friends are more concerned with the economy than many Democrat-led issues, such as abortion.

"I see people coming because inflation, crime, gasoline, food, everything is going up faster than they can keep up with it," Dyer said. "And it’s taking money out of their pocket everyday. So, everyone I talk to is because of that."

Local Puerto-Rican entrepreneur Lisy Devin attends a rally for Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday in Boynton Beach to help show support for the Republican party.
Wilkine Brutus/WLRN
Local Puerto-Rican entrepreneur Lisy Devin attends a rally for Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday in Boynton Beach to help show support for the Republican party.

Lisy Devin is a Puerto-Rican entrepreneur arrived at the conservative gathering in Boynton Beach to show support for the Republican party. Devin said she has noticed her Hispanic friends moving to the right for cultural and economic reasons.

The mother of two, for example, supports the Republican school board strategy of positioning conservatives in education. On issues she's passionate about, such as the economy, she said DeSantis "feels like her body guard."

"I see people struggling and not that I’m struggling, I’m blessed right now, but it is my job right now to support small businesses and to support anybody close to us because inflation is pretty bad," Devin said.

Melissa Paul, a 35-year-old dental assistant, is a Republican who supports most of DeSantis’ agenda, such as his positions on the economy, but she has a few reservations about the recent anti-abortion legislation he signed into law.

The law bans abortions in Florida after 15 weeks, but it does not provide exceptions for victims of rape or incest. She supports the Republican party but feels a little apathy about how many political issues are solved.

“The state or the country as whole has just lost a little bit of direction and what the end goal of our state of country and humanity is, what would put us in the future to better our lives, in general, as a country, instead of everyone’s personal vendettas,” Paul said. “There are so many different floating factors nowadays. People don’t really keep it to just what the issues are and how we are going to solve it.”