It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

The common knowledge is that Florida is no longer a swing state. Ron DeSantis only beat his opponent in 2018 by less than half a percentage point. But four years later, he took almost 60% of the vote.

So Florida is dead for Democrats, right?

Not necessarily.

They just won the mayoralty of Jacksonville. That’s actually Florida’s biggest city with almost a million people. But a Republican has been mayor of the city for almost a decade.

But Democrat Donna Deegan, in a close race, won with 52% of the vote. Traditionally, north Florida has been considered more conservative than south Florida, so this is not a good sign for the GOP.

Deegan is a former local news anchor and runs a cancer charity. She beat Chamber of Commerce head Daniel Davis.

To be fair, Deegan was the more known candidate in the race. There was an initial election before this most recent runoff. The GOP favorite, a well-known councilwoman, got knocked out as her husband was aiming to get special favors on bidding contracts from the city council. Davis was much less well known. Deegan got 40% to Davis’s 25%.

But his visibility increased as time wore on. While the first runoff poll had Deegan crushing Davis 50-25%, a poll last week had them two points apart. Davis was running a smart campaign. He primarily steered clear of culture war issues and promised to install more police. Deegan, creating a potential red flag, said she would also increase police but look for innovative ways to cut crime off at the pass, increase social workers, etc. That’s left code word for not actually supporting the police.

But Deegan played it smart too, coming off as a moderate Dem, relatively speaking. The race had moderate vs. moderate, creating an even playing field and thus providing some decent tea leaves for the presidential election next year.

Deegan’s victory also signals that Dem support is increasing in the deep south. Northern Florida is considered more deep south than the southern region of the state. They share similar demographics to Georgia, which is right up the road. This victory might also point to the Democrats resting a little more easy about winning Georgia again.

And DeSantis has some egg on his face. He enthusiastically endorsed Davis. If he can’t swing an election in the biggest city in his state, will he have any power to win the Florida GOP primary for himself? It’s not a great sign.

Daniel Davis on Twitter: "Thanks @GovRonDeSantis." / Twitter
Ron DeSantis had his endorsed candidate, Daniel Davis, lose at the ballot box

Oh, and surprise, surprise, Trump has been hitting hard on DeSantis’s candidate’s loss on TruthSocial. Just a little more fuel to Trump’s fire as he aims to extinguish DeSantis completely.


Add comment