Florida politics

Ron DeSantis' Busy First 96 Hours As Governor

Jan 14, 2019
ASSOCIATED PRESS

From decisions on ethics, to the environment, to a Supreme Court pick, Ron DeSantis got a lot done in his first four days as Governor of the state of Florida.

Though it’s far too early to make conclusions about the way DeSantis will lead, it does appear the Republican governor is “trying to take some steps that will have broad appeal,” said Jim Saunders, Executive Editor for News Service of Florida, Friday on The Florida Roundup.

Robert Hunter / Courtesy of the Florida House of Representatives

A few South Florida Democrats will have new leadership positions in the state Legislature when session starts in March.

Rep. Kionne McGhee, a Democrat from south Miami-Dade County and the incoming minority leader in the Florida House, created four new deputy positions. Three of them represent South Florida.

Each new deputy minority leader will oversee a group of House members; the Democratic caucus of 47 members is divided roughly along geographic lines. There are a total of 120 members in the House.

Ron DeSantis' Early Appointments Yield Some Surprises, Including Two Democrats

Dec 24, 2018
BUTCH DILL / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The campaign tours may be over and the TV appearances put on hold, but Governor-elect Ron DeSantis and his transition team have been busy since the election carving out a state government, at a pace both rapid and glacial.

So far his appointments have favored experienced bureaucrats from a range of political ideologies — surprising critics that expected DeSantis’ embrace of President Donald Trump to translate into appointments of loyal supporters with missions to destroy the agencies they lead.

David Santiago / Miami Herald

The state House member who represents the communities devastated by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is leaving his seat for a position in the incoming governor’s administration — opening a spot in the Legislature that could be filled by one of the parents who lost a child in the tragedy.

Associated Press

Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that he will serve out his full second term under an arrangement that will lead to a five-day delay in the Republican joining the U.S. Senate next month.

The 116th Congress, which includes the U.S. House and Senate, will start on Jan. 3. But Scott, who was first elected as governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, is scheduled to remain as governor until Jan. 8, when Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis’ term begins.

Florida Senate via Twitter

Florida’s political world is built around two-year cycles.

And the latest acrimonious, head-scratching cycle finally ended Tuesday when the state Elections Canvassing Commission certified the results of the Nov. 6 elections.

The acrimony, of course, did not end with the usual campaign attack ads and nastiness. It lasted nearly two additional weeks as ballots continued to be counted and recounted and legal fights raged.

Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press via The Miami Herald

Florida Democrats in Washington could only watch when the Republican Congress decided against new gun legislation after a shooter killed 17 students and staff at a Parkland high school last year. Nor could they force action to combat rising sea levels off Florida’s coastlines. 

That will change come January. 

After gaining 38 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, including two in Florida, Democrats will control the lower chamber for the first time since 2011. 

Election Changes Eyed As 2018 Results Finalized

Nov 20, 2018
Christian Colón / Miami Herald

After months of mudslinging, weeks of court wrangling and days of ballot counting that again landed Florida in an unwelcome national spotlight, a state panel matter-of-factly finalized the 2018 election results in a five-minute meeting Tuesday.

The certification came on time, but problems with other election-related deadlines in two large, heavily Democratic counties --- Palm Beach and Broward --- are prompting county supervisors and legislative leaders to ponder possible solutions to the state’s ballot-box woes.

Florida Certifies Results Of Contentious 2018 Election

Nov 20, 2018

Trump-allied Republican Ron DeSantis was formally elected governor of Florida and outgoing Gov. Rick Scott elected U.S. senator on Tuesday when the state certified election results two weeks after tight margins prompted tumultuous recounts.

Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

Upon winning the Florida governor’s race, Ron DeSantis had firmly established himself as an unyielding partisan who’s an ardent defender of President Donald Trump and a relentless prosecutor of his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum. 

But in the two weeks since Election Day, the 40-year-old former congressman has been tinkering with his brand. 

Caldwell Concedes Cabinet Race To Fried

Nov 19, 2018
Meredith Gettings / Florida House of Representatives

Republican Matt Caldwell pointed to a need for political “sanity” and a “peaceful transfer of power” Monday as he conceded the race for Florida agriculture commissioner to Fort Lauderdale lawyer Nikki Fried, the only Democrat to win statewide this year.

Caldwell, a real-estate appraiser from North Fort Myers who has served the past eight years in the Florida House, said in a statement that he still had questions about how ballots were handled in Palm Beach and Broward counties, where he had filed a lawsuit. But he didn’t want to use “legal loopholes to win an election.”

Christian Colón / Miami Herald

Florida voters whose mail-in ballots were rejected because of signature problems had the chance to fix those ballots over the weekend.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner released a new affidavit form to cure vote-by-mail ballots with mismatched signatures.

The canvassing boards decided whether to accept both versions of the form only hours before the deadline.

Associated Press

After voting for himself to be Florida’s first black governor, Andrew Gillum was asked to comment on the historic nature of his run.

“We’ll worry about history later," Gillum said Tuesday morning after casting his ballot at a Catholic church in Tallahassee. "But today, we’re working to win."

Gillum held his infant son over one hip, and he and his wife, R. Jai Gillum, each held a hand of one of their twins. He seemed calm, comfortable, confident.

Thirteen hours later, he conceded the race.

Left: WLRN, Right: Ron DeSantis' Twitter

The men who are vying to be Florida's next governor cast votes for themselves Tuesday morning, with Republican Ron DeSantis near Jacksonville and Democrat Andrew Gillum in Tallahassee.

DeSantis, who represented a northwest Florida district in Congress before resigning his seat to focus on his gubernatorial campaign, went to the polls in Ponte Vedra Beach with his wife Casey early Tuesday morning.

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