Miami New Times' 2018 Midterm Election Live-Blog

Miami New Times' 2018 Midterm Election Live-Blog
Photo of Gillum by City of Tallahassee, DeSantis by Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Photo of Gillum by City of Tallahassee, DeSantis by Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Donald Trump has, it seems, been president now for 33 years. Election Night 2016 (shudder) feels like a century ago. So much is different now: Our politics have become even more diseased than usual. Corruption and racism no longer disqualify someone from holding office. An accused rapist sits on the Supreme Court. Fox News comes closer each day to just reciting the white-nationalist Fourteen Words on-air.

In Florida's case, an admitted Medicare fraudster and a very angry-seeming and probably racist white dude want to be senator and governor, respectively. Given the history of the Florida Republican Party, those two candidates aren't exactly surprising. But what is surprising is that Florida Democrats have, so far, avoided tripping over themselves like they always do. Time will tell if Andrew Gillum can actually win Florida, but it's fair to say he's the most popular Democratic gubernatorial candidate in recent state history. He even, dare we say it, has a coherent economic platform. Plus, Florida might also begin the process of returning the right to more than 1 million mostly African American residents who have been disenfranchised.

So, sure, maybe voting for Democratic candidates won't reverse decades of capitalist plunder or lead to the impeachment of the Big Soggy Man occupying the White House. But tonight could be a start toward something better for Florida's working-class residents, who have demonstrably suffered under two decades of Republican-rule. Or, on the flipside, maybe everyone cool will lose because life is bleak and nothing matters. Only a few hours till we find out!



11:45 p.m.: Lot of updates here: Most obviously, Republicans have now won every statewide seat in Florida. Ron DeSantis will be the next governor. Rick Scott is going to be a senator for the next six years. Democrats lost the state attorney general race. They lost the agricultural commissioner and CFO races. The state government is almost entirely in the hands of Republicans. DeSantis barely even had a platform. Scott is on TV right now declaring himself senator. It's been a bad night for the Dems. But, perhaps more notably, it's been a weird night: Polls were, by and large, wrong, and some folks who seemed likely to win — Gillum, Curbelo, et al — wound up getting blown out. Election polling in Florida has been consistently wrong for quite some time now.

Democrats did, however, pick up a few House seats. And, moreover, a slew of progressive amendments did pass: Amendment Four will restore voting rights to more than 1 million people. Dog racing will be outlawed by 2020. Miami's Strong Mayor initiative — which would have given the Miami mayor a ton of extra hiring and firing power — died like it should have. (Miami is, though, likely going to get that new MLS stadium after all.)

Overall, it's been an extremely weird night: Republicans won on absolutely razor-thin margins that might not exist in 2020 when the state's re-enfranchised former felons are allowed to vote again. But Republicans also scored their own, lasting change to the state constitution: An amendment that passed tonight will require a supermajority of votes in order to raise any new taxes at the state level. Even if Democrats or progressives take back the legislature, the state constitution will hamstring their efforts from here on out.

The night can be best summed up with this tweet:


9:45 p.m.: Carlos Curbelo, Miami's whiniest congressman, has lost. He has conceded.


8:30 p.m.: Florida can't make anything easy. Nearly 80 percent of Miami-Dade County votes are in. Statewide, DeSantis and Scott (gulp) each has a painfully narrow lead. Results from the deep-red Panhandle are coming in now, which explains the surge of GOP votes. There's still time for that lead to flip, but the window there is small.

Things actually look good for Democrats lower down the ballot: Donna Shalala has won her congressional race in what should have been, and was, one of the easiest Democratic pickups in America. She ran what can only be described as a botched, lackadaisical campaign and polled poorly. In the end, the district itself was just too blue for her to lose.

It also looks like every single constitutional amendment, both good and bad, will pass with flying color. The good: Amendment Four, which restores felon's voting rights, will almost certainly become law and give more than 1 million more people the right to vote. Floridians will likely make dog-racing illegal.

The bad: An insane right-wing proposal from Rick Scott that would require a supermajority of legislative votes to raise taxes or create new social programs is also on track to pass.

7:30 p.m.: Early-voting and vote-by-mail results in Miami-Dade County are in. Democrats cleaned up in early votes, which is somewhat typical for most elections. But what is remarkable is the margin so far: Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson both took roughly 60 percent of Miami-Dade's early votes, as did many of the Democrats running lower on the ballot. Early votes tend to go blue, but it's pretty remarkable to see the early results swing that blue in Miami-Dade. (And Broward is even bluer.) Could be a good sign for Democrats tonight.

With more than 50 percent of the vote in, it is looking good for Democrats, but they are still voting on the panhandle.

As for the down-ballot races: Controversy magnet, Trump-fan, grumpy-guy, and shady-money-taker Anthony DeFillipo is cruising toward becoming mayor of North Miami Beach. Nearly every single constitutional amendment has major support within Dade County, at least. Even a tax increase to bump up teacher pay is winning. The only referendum on track to lose so far is a measure that would create a new city near Aventura.


7:15 p.m.: Dare we say it — the first results are starting to pour in. For now, the only counties that have reported have mostly been right-leaning ones — no need to really prognosticate too much here for another 30 to 45 minutes or so until we get a clearer picture of the voting results. But, oddly, a few counties seem to be showing that a subset of Bill Nelson/Ron Desantis voters existing?


6:40 p.m.: With 20 minutes until polls close in most of the state, it is pouring rain on Andrew Gillum's huge outdoor election-night event in Tallahassee. The media tent has sprung a Biblical-level leak:

There will be actually interesting news soon, we promise.


6:15 p.m.: Turnout is very high so far! As it turns out, the complete melting and cratering of our national political ecosystem has pushed voters to the polls. Funny enough, nobody (including us) has any clue what the turnout numbers mean for Florida so far. About 25,000 more Democrats early-voted than Republicans did. But those numbers A) don't reflect how people actually voted, and B) actually represent a smaller margin than the Democrats held in 2016. When Trump won the state. Here's the Miami Herald's ever-reliable Doug Hanks with some real data:

Elsehwere in Miami, the kind folks behind David Beckham's attempt to make a ton of money off some basically free public land build a Miami Major-League Soccer soccer stadium have been hit with an election complaint. As it turns out, the folks pushing for Miami Freedom Park's referendum approval tonight were caught straight-up giving away free merch to push people to vote in favor of the proposal, which, if approved, would allow the construction of a soccer stadium and also a ton of office and retail space on what is now the Melreese Golf Course. Turns out, giving out merch in exchange for votes may, in fact, be bribery:
   And, despite the fact that Miami is generally a non-functioning hell-place 12 months out of the year, there have been oddly few reports of voter-intimidation or suppression so far tonight. There's that at least!




Andrew Gillum (D)
Ron DeSantis (R) WINNER


Bill Nelson (D)
Rick Scott (R) WINNER


District 23:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) WINNER
Joe Kaufman (R)
Tim Canova (NPA)

District 24:

Frederica Wilson (D) Ran Unopposed

District 25:

Mary Barzee Flores (D)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R) WINNER

District 26:

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) WINNER
Carlos Curbelo (R)

District 27:

Donna Shalala (D) WINNER
Maria Elvira Salazar (R)
Mayra Joli (NPA)

Attorney General:

Sean Shaw (D)
Ashley Moody (R) WINNER

Agriculture Commissioner:

Nikki Fried (D)
Matt Caldwell (R) WINNER

Chief Financial Officer:

Jeremy Ring (D)
Jimmy Patronis (R) WINNER

State Senate:

District 36:

David Perez (D)
Manny Diaz Jr. (R) WINNER

District 40:

Annette Taddeo (D) WINNER
Marili Cancio (R)

State Representative:

District 103

Cindy Polo (D)
Frank Mingo (R) WINNER

District 105

Javier Estevez (D)
Ana Maria Rodriguez (R) WINNER

District 108

Dotie Joseph (D) WINNER
Riquet Caballero (LPF)

District 111

Rizwan Ahmed (D)
Bryan Avila (R) WINNER

District 112

Nicholas X. Duran (D) WINNER
Rosy Palomino (R)

District 113

Michael Grieco (D) WINNER
J.P. Parker (R)

District 114

Javier Fernandez (D) WINNER
Javier Enriquez (R)

District 115

Jeffrey Solomon (D)
Vance Aloupis (R) WINNER

District 116

James A. Harden (D)
Daniel Anthony Perez (R) WINNER

District 118

Robert Ascencio (D)
Anthony Rodriguez (R) WINNER

District 119

Heath Rassner (D)
Jean Fernandez-Barquin (R) WINNER
Daniel E. Sotelo (NPA)

District 120

Steve Friedman (D) WINNER
Holly Raschein (R)

Supreme Court Justice:

Does Al Lawson get to keep his job? YUP

Constitutional Amendments:

Amendment 1: Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption FAILED

Amendment 2: Limitations on Property Tax Assessments PASSED

Amendment 3: Voter Control of Gambling PASSED

Amendment 4: Felon Voting Restoration PASSED

Amendment 5: Supermajority Required to Raise Taxes PASSED

Amendment 6: Victim's Rights, AKA Marsy's Law PASSED

Amendment 7: First Responder Benefits but Also College Fee Regulation? PASSED

Amendment 9: Prohibiting Offshore Oil Drilling and Indoor Vaping PASSED

Amendment 10: State and Local Government Structure PASSED

Amendment 11: Property Rights PASSED

Amendment 12: Lobbying and Abuse by Public Officials PASSED

Amendment 13: Ending Dog Racing PASSED

County Referenda:

Referendum 1: Making Clerk of Court A Nonpartisan Race PASSED

Referendum 2: Limiting Resignation Requirements for Some Officials PASSED

Referendum 3: Reviewing County Petitions For Legal Sufficiency PASSED

Referendum 4: Not Counting Votes for Dead or Withdrawn Candidates PASSED

Referendum 5:
 Prohibiting Paying Signature Gatherers Per-Signature PASSED

Referendum 6: New Municipality in Northeast Miami-Dade FAILED

School Board: Raising Taxes to Pay Teachers More PASSED

City of Miami Referenda:

Freedom Park/ Soccer Stadium: PASSED

Strong Mayor: FAILED

Riverwalk: PASSED

Miami Beach Referenda:

Creating an Inspector General: PASSED

Convention-Center Hotel: PASSED

Multiple G.O. Bonds: PASSED

Cutler Bay Mayor: TIM MEERBOK

Key Biscayne Mayor: MICHAEL W. DAVEY

North Bay Village Mayor: BRENT LATHAM

North Miami Beach Mayor: ANTHONY DEFILLIPO

Opa-locka Mayor: MATTHEW PIGATT

Palmetto Bay Mayor: KARYN CUNNINGHAM
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.