florida courthouse
Nov 10, 2022

Florida 2022 Midterm Election Review

After months of campaigning and an estimated $350 million dollars spent, Floridians made their voices heard. Here are the results.

For decades, Florida has been considered a swing state, in which both parties compete at the top of the ticket for president, then in off-year elections, for governor and cabinet. Although Florida's last Democrat governor was Lawton Chiles, elected in 1990 and 1994, previous elections for governor have been relatively close. Additionally, President Obama won the state of Florida not once but twice.

Tuesday night however, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis did not just beat former Governor Charlie Crist; he dominated him by a near 20 point margin, running up the score in rural areas and the suburbs, while simultaneously beating him in all but three Florida counties. Governor DeSantis is the first statewide candidate to win Miami-Dade County since Jeb Bush in 2002, a county that went for Hillary Clinton by 30 points in 2016. The shift in Hispanic support from Democrat to Republican has been significant and not confined to traditionally Republican Cuban-Americans. This shift is also occurring within populations of Nicaraguans, Colombians, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanic voting blocks.

The overwhelming gubernatorial victory helped Republicans down ballot too, from legislative races to school boards to city and county commission races. The last governor to enjoy a margin of victory this large was Bob Graham in 1982.

Republicans originally took full control of the legislature in 1996 after making incremental gains over the previous decade. Since then, Democrats have set their sights on narrowing the margin. Many predicted they would even take over the Florida Senate this decade.

But the election results Tuesday night put an end to this effort for a long time. State legislative races were overwhelmingly won by Republicans. No region of the state was spared, including urban areas like Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties, traditionally democratic strongholds.

Republicans now have super majorities in both the Florida House and Senate. House Speaker-Designate Paul Renner will have 85 Republicans in his chamber, compared to 35 Democrats, while Senate President-Designate Kathleen Passidomo will have 28 Republicans, compared to 12 Democrats.

As the governor and legislative leaders begin to craft an agenda for 2023, it is clear this agenda will continue to be bold, aggressive, and broad-based on such issues as education, parental rights, economic development, cost of living, taxes, property insurance reform, ESG, and hurricane recovery. Additionally, Governor DeSantis expects a special session will be called in mid-December to address property insurance reform and possibly other tangential issues.

Lawmakers come to Tallahassee on November 22 to officially be sworn in, during the constitutionally required organizational session. Legislative committee weeks begin in December and go through the end of February. Florida's 2023 legislative session officially begins March 7.