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Republicans dominate Florida midterms; Trump vs. DeSantis; Gen Z goes to Congress

Gov. Ron DeSantis holds his son Mason as he celebrates winning reelection on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.
Rebecca Blackwell
Gov. Ron DeSantis holds his son Mason as he celebrates winning reelection on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Much of the U.S. rejected Trump-allied candidates in this week’s midterms, despite predictions of a “red wave.” Meanwhile, Republicans in Florida won up and down the ballot.

Speaking to supporters on election night, Gov. Ron DeSantis boasted of rewriting the political map.

The governor repeated themes that have played well with his base and antagonized his opponents on the campaign trail, touting his record on keeping the state open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and lashing out at so-called “wokeism.”

Sen. Marco Rubio also comfortably won reelection, and Republicans now have a supermajority in the state Legislature. At the same time, former President Donald Trump is taking aim at DeSantis as he teases another run for the White House.

Guest: Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida Distinguished University Professor Emerita in political science.

What’s behind Florida Republicans’ success?

Republicans point to several factors behind their recent successes in Florida.

Guest: Edward J. Pozzuoli, CEO of the Tripp Scott Law Firm and former chairman of the Republican Party of Broward County.

Florida's shifting politics

For decades, Florida was billed as “the ultimate swing state.” In 2000, the whole presidential election came down to a handful of votes in the Sunshine State. But in recent years, the formerly purple state has gotten ever more red. That was borne out in Tuesday’s midterm results, with voters continuing their rightward turn even as many other states rejected Florida-style politics.

With the state trending red, where does that leave Florida activists supporting more progressive causes?

Guest: Andrea Mercado, executive director at Florida Rising, a grassroots group that works to increase the voting and political power of Black and brown communities in the state.

Gen Z goes to Washington

Generation Z has officially arrived in the halls of Congress with a new face from Florida.

Progressive activist Maxwell Alejandro Frost, 25, will officially become the first Gen Z member of Congress after winning the race to represent Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Frost defeated 72-year-old Republican Calvin Wimbish, a retired Army Green Beret and conservative activist. The Central Florida House seat was vacated by Democrat Val Demings during her unsuccessful run to unseat Rubio.

Guest: U.S. Rep.-Elect Maxwell Frost.

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Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.