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Cubano Comeback: Did Conservative Exile Vote Put DeSantis Ahead In Governor Race?

Tim Padgett
Conservative Cuban-American voter Alberto Hernandez shows off the picture of President Trump on his painting company's pickup truck in Kendall on Tuesday.

Those who think Miami’s conservative Cuban vote has lost its clout should perhaps think again. If Republican Ron DeSantis ends up winning the Florida governor’s race, voting data suggests he may owe it to los cubanos.

An analysis of the Miami-Dade County Cuban vote in Tuesday’s midterm election suggests el voto cubano could well have put Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis ahead.

Miami communications strategist Giancarlo Sopo, himself a Cuban-American, looked at Miami-Dade’s most Cuban precincts. He found DeSantis won twice as many votes as Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum did in those enclaves: 66 percent to 33 percent.

That’s a difference of more than 160,000 votes – far more than the shrinking statewide advantage DeSantis has held since election night. The governor’s race will probably go to a recount now because less than half a percentage point separates DeSantis and Gillum.

Still, DeSantis’ strong result in the precincts Sopo examined shows Miami’s older, more conservative Cuban vote can still contend with if not trump (no pun intended) the younger, more moderate Cuban cohort pundits often point to today.

It also suggests those more conservative Cuban exiles are galvanized by controversial GOP political adsthat say more liberal Democrats like Gillum are a lot like the socialists who rule Cuba and Venezuela.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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