By Robert A. Vella

As the primary election cycle winds down before the November midterms, there were two notable takeaways from yesterday’s results.  In the races that decided the opposing candidates for Florida’s next governor, the party establishment candidates both lost in a very big way.  This was especially surprising on the Democratic side where polling had indicated that the eventual winner, a black progressive backed by Bernie Sanders, didn’t have much of a chance to succeed. Apparently, younger voters turned out in greater numbers than was anticipated and the opinion polls once again failed to recognize it.

In the Arizona race to replace retiring senator Jeff Flake (R), both the Republican and Democratic establishment candidates cruised to victory in a rebuke of populist sentiment.  The GOP result was particularly annoying for President Trump who was angered by Flake’s sharp criticism of him and wanted a loyal supporter to fill that seat.

From:  Andrew Gillum, Florida’s Upset Democratic Candidate, In An Early Tangle With Trump [clarification by The Secular Jurist]

Andrew Gillum was expected by many to be an also-ran in Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Now, despite being heavily outspent by his better known centrist rivals, the 39-year-old Tallahassee mayor is his party’s nominee, and has already drawn attention from the Oval Office.

And only hours into the general election, Gillum’s Republican opponent is being criticized for making what some are calling racist remarks, telling Florida not to “monkey this up” by electing Gillum.

Gillum, who defeated former Rep. Gwen Graham and two other candidates, would become Florida’s first black governor if elected in November.


Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, who won the GOP primary [against Adam Putnam] with President Trump’s endorsement, drew charges of racism over a comment he made Wednesday morning on Fox News after Gillum’s morning appearance. DeSantis said, “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”

From:  In Arizona Senate race, Republican’s embrace of Trump carries risks

(Reuters) – Republican U.S. Representative Martha McSally’s embrace of President Donald Trump and his agenda paid off on Tuesday, when the Arizonan beat back conservative challengers for her party’s nomination in a crucial U.S. Senate race.

But Republican strategists warned that her shift to the right on Trump and his hard-line immigration policies could also prove an albatross in November, when she will face a well-funded moderate Democratic congresswoman, Kyrsten Sinema, in a race expected to be tight.

The primary highlighted the delicate dance for many Republicans running in tough elections this year, given Trump’s sky-high approval ratings among voters of his own party: criticizing Trump too harshly risks losing the Republican base, while embracing him too warmly could alienate moderate voters who disapprove of his performance.


Sinema, a former Green Party member, has undergone her own political shift toward the middle over the years, joining the “Blue Dog Coalition” of moderate Democrats after winning her seat in 2012 and voting against Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s re-election as minority leader in 2016.

The website VoteView, which estimates how liberal or conservative members of Congress are based on their legislative voting history, lists Sinema as the second-most conservative Democrat in the House, behind only the newly elected Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania.

With only token opposition in her primary, Sinema, a 42-year-old Tucson native, has been free to run essentially a general election campaign for months, positioning herself as an independent voice and eschewing attacks on Trump by name.

3 thoughts on “Primary Finale: Establishment loses big in Florida governor race, holds the field in Arizona senate race

  1. I’m in Fla. so glad Gillum won…It’ll be a tough one, as Fla is quite red especially the good ole boys in my area…small towns, citrus and cattle

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