By 7 p.m., Floridians will know whether their usually inept state Democratic Party has chosen to anoint a hard-campaigning progressive with popular, grassroots support; a rich dude with a checkered track record as Miami Beach mayor; or a well-connected but boring centrist former congresswoman as the party's next gubernatorial candidate. Republicans, in the meantime, appear ready to nominate the Donald Trump-endorsed Ron DeSantis, the human equivalent of an AR-15 wrapped in a "Don't Tread on Me" T-shirt wrapped in a civil rights lawsuit subpoena.
There are a lot of candidates on today's primary ballot running for spots as congresspeople, Miami-Dade County commissioners, judges, and school board candidates. Tonight will be extremely interesting at the polls. After you vote, check back here as we fill in the results. (Scroll past the candidate list to read updates.)
CANDIDATES (WINNER IN BOLD)
Congressional District 27
Kristen Rosen Gonzalez
Maria Elvira Salazar
Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera
Congressional District 26
Congressional District 23
Congressional District 22
State Senate District 38
State House District 108
State House District 113
R. David Walker
Miami-Dade County Commission
Jose "Pepe" Diaz
County Mayor/Commissioner Salaries
Zoning Board of Adjustment Personnel Changes
Wow. The Associated Press has called the Democratic governor's race for Andrew Gillum — the first black gubernatorial nominee in state history. Gillum ran as the only out-and-out progressive in the race, the only non-millionaire, and the only candidate to run on a clear, ideas-first, progressive platform that included abolishing ICE, making college free, and instituting Medicare for All. He had Bernie Sanders' endorsement, perhaps not surprisingly.
Gillum — who ran on abolishing ICE and instituting Medicare for All, was endorsed by Bernie
The same isn't quite true in Miami's District 27 congressional race: State lawmaker David Richardson has conceded to Donna Shalala, the former University of Miami president, Clinton Foundation leader, and U.S. secretary of health and human services under Bill Clinton.
With 87% of precincts reporting, former U.S. Health and Human Services Sec Donna Shalala has 32% of the vote to Richardson's 27%. FL Dems miss out on an opportunity to elect a real progressive. https://t.co/cN5POCv9fl— Rebekah Entralgo Fernández (@rebekahentralgo) August 29, 2018
Tonight was also, technically, a Miami-Dade County Commission race, but you likely would not have noticed had New Times not brought it up. For better or for worse, very incumbent — Daniella Levine Cava, Jean Monestime, Rebeca Sosa, Javier Souto, and Jose "Pepe" Diaz — cartwheeled to victory.
Oh, and the Miami Herald has called the race for DeSantis which is... not a surprise at this point. Someone mop Putnam up off the floor, please.
Polls only closed in part of the Panhandle 15 minutes or so ago, so there's still a lot of statewide accounting to do. (Plus, in a move that might give some folks PTSD, Broward County has been struggling with some of its election data.) But Graham is oh-so-slightly leading Gillum statewide and there's still some time for Gillum to close that gap.
With 83 percent of precincts reporting in Miami-Dade County, it's nearly time to call some races. Ron DeSantis is not going to lose to Adam Putnam, for starters. But Shalala has held onto her Congressional district lead over Richardson for most of the night. On that race's Republican side, former CNN and Univision reporter Maria Elvira Salazar, who was long considered the front-runner, has been cruising to victory all night. Longtime county commissioner and well-known doofus Bruno Barreiro is losing handily, and Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, whom the Miami Herald endorsed despite her claiming to have been abducted by aliens, is sitting at 4.25 percent. Absentee ballots to take a while to come back from space, though.
In the other state-wide races, State legislator Matt Caldwell, a prolific Republican #Tweeter who once called New Times "fake news," appears to be ahead in the Republican Agricultural Commissioner race. Republican Attorney General candidate Frank White just conceded that race to competitor Ashley
Gillum's surge continues. He and Levine are effectively tied now in Levine's home county, and he is only behind Levine's 41,000 votes by about 1,500 or so. This bodes well for Gillum statewide tonight. Campbell and Hardemon are still on track to lose.
But — do I hear DJ ESQ's music?
Time for a handy breakdown of Republican races: GOP Gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, the human version of a cruise missile stuffed into a suit, has ridden a massive wave of jingoism and pro-Trump capitulation to take 68 percent of the vote in Miami-Dade County so far. In any other year, Adam Putnam would have seemed like a shoo-in: He hates the fake news media and the immigrants and the Deep State as much as the next guy. But DeSantis scored an early Trump endorsement, won a bunch of free airtime on Fox News — the only news source that matters to reactionary voters — and the rest was history. Putnam spent the last few weeks of the race name-dropping obscure Florida towns to make himself sound like a local, but nobody cared. The swine who supported Trump in Florida would have voted for DeSantis had he been from the moon.
We've got Dade County's vote-by-mail results. Perhaps not
Down the ballot, two incumbent candidates on New Times' anti-endorsement list are behind in absentee-ballot votes: Alleged woman-puncher Roy Hardemon and absurd, serial-lying, accused "secret Republican" Daphne Campbell. Members of the local Democratic Party (and fellow politicians) campaigned against Campbell and Hardemon. Their challengers both also ran straight-ahead, competent, drama-free campaigns. The same cannot be said for Campbell, who called the cops on two different reporters in 2018 alone.
Polls have closed across Florida, except for that weird part of the Panhandle netherworld that
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So far, it looks like the Democratic "blue wave" is actually hitting. As of 3:30 p.m., voter turnout was reportedly crushing previous counts for mid-term primary elections in Miami. Per CBS Miami's Jim DeFede, Republican turnout is spiking to 31 percent — but Democratic turnout is up a whopping 71 percent over 2014:
And to give you an idea of intensity: The Republican vote (Early In Person and Mail In) is up 31 percent this year over 2014.— Jim DeFede (@DeFede) August 28, 2018
And that is great news for Republicans.
Except for one thing. The Democratic turnout is are up 71 percent over 2014 in Early and Mail In vote.
Elsewhere, some candidates already appear to be packing it in. Yesterday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene — a man who got rich betting that the banks would fail during the 2008 recession — canceled his election-night watch-party after an effort that New Times generously dubbed the single stupidest Democratic campaign we'd ever seen. (Some highlights: He is a billionaire real-estate developer who yelled at others for their allegedly corrupt real estate deals; he used his personal Mar-A-Lago membership to take anti-Trump photos inside Mar-a-Lago, et cetera.) Goodbye, billionaire fail-man, we hardly knew ye.