2022 Election Recap

A Red Wave: Republicans Win Big Across the State

Republicans enjoyed a red wave in Florida in Tuesday’s election, with Gov. Ron DeSantis winning a second term in a landslide, and the GOP about to have the entire Cabinet and possible supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature. Republicans also picked up two Florida congressional seats and held on to a U.S. Senate seat that the Democrats had hoped to pick off. With the Cabinet wins and DeSantis’ re-election, no Democrat will be serving in a statewide office in Florida for the first time since Reconstruction. Axios / Tampa Bay Times

DeSantis Easily Re-Elected for Second Term

Gov. Ron DeSantis was elected four years ago in an election so close it required a recount. This time, the outcome wasn’t in doubt by any stretch. His win by nearly 20 percentage points Tuesday would be the largest margin by a Republican candidate for governor in modern Florida history. The governor, who has been polarizing in taking on cultural issues and with a strong stance against government interventions in the face of the COVID pandemic, also managed to carry Miami-Dade County, a first for his party in two decades. Politico / Florida Politics / USA Today Network / Orlando Sentinel / Tampa Bay Times / New York Times / The Hill / Associated Press

Rubio Re-Elected to Senate

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio beat back a challenge from U.S. Rep. Val Demings to win a third term in Washington and hold a key seat for Republicans who were seeking control of the closely divided chamber. Rubio won easily, garnering more than 57% of the vote on a night when GOP candidates across the state celebrated victories in nearly every type of race. Associated Press / Orlando Sentinel 

GOP Sweeps Cabinet Races

Three well-bankrolled Republicans, including two incumbents, easily kept the independently elected Florida Cabinet in GOP hands, beating back challenges from lesser-known Democrats. The wins in the attorney general, agriculture commissioner, and chief financial officer races make the first time since Reconstruction that no Democrat has held a statewide office in Florida. Orlando Sentinel / Tampa Bay Times

Florida Voters Reject Constitutional Amendments

Backers of three constitutional amendments came up short on Tuesday in a state where voters have in the past been happy to make the most minute of changes by amending the foundational document. Two of the amendments on the ballot were proposed by the Legislature in 2021, and the other by lawmakers this year. Each constitutional amendment that was put on the ballot was first approved by at least three-fifths of state lawmakers from both the House and Senate. Amendment 1, which was passed by legislators as HB 1377 last year, would have prevented a property’s assessed value from increasing after improvements were made to help combat flood damage. The proposal would give certain homeowners a tax break when they update their home to make it less susceptible to flood damage but as of last night, only 57% of voters approved the measure. Another 2021 measure passed by the Legislature (SB 204) that was on the ballot on Tuesday asked voters whether or not to repeal the Constitution Revision Commission. The CRC, which meets every 20 years, is a 37-member commission that suggests constitutional amendments that go directly to the ballot for a public vote. Created and approved by Florida voters in 1968, the CRC consists of 15 commissioners appointed by the governor, nine by the Senate President, nine by the House Speaker and three by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court – with the Attorney General automatically serving on the commission. Currently, Florida is the only state with a commission empowered to refer constitutional amendments to the ballot. That constitutional amendment only received 54% of voter approval as of last night. The third constitutional amendment that was included on the ballot for voters to decide was a proposal passed earlier this year by lawmakers as HB 1. The measure asked Floridians to consider an additional homestead property tax exemption for those who work in critical public service jobs. The initiative would allow an exemption from all ad valorem taxes, other than school district levies, on the assessed value from $100,000 to $150,000 of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active duty military personnel and members of the Florida National Guard. The third and final measure reportedly had 58% of voters in favor, with 41% opposed. Each of the constitutional amendments needed at least 60% of the vote in order to be ratified and take effect. Florida Elections Amendment Booklet / Florida Division of Elections / Tampa Bay Times