MIAMI – PRESIDENT
President Donald Trump has won Florida’s 29 electoral votes, defeating Democrat Joe Biden in a prized battleground state crucial to the Republican’s bid for another four years in the White House.
Trump withstood an aggressive challenge by the former vice president, who questioned the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his rush to appoint a new justice on the U.S. Supreme Court and how he has addressed social unrest after high-profile police killings of Black people.
Democrats had hoped to boost turnout among their ranks with a mail-in voting push, but it was not enough. In the end, Trump prevailed with the help of a loyal base, particularly in the state’s rural reaches.
Republicans flipped a pair of Democratic U.S. House seats in Florida on Tuesday, with Maria Elvira Salazar defeating Rep. Donna Shalala and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez ousting Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
The GOP will have a 16-11 edge in Florida’s House delegation in the next Congress.
Salazar, a Spanish-language television newscaster, won in her second try for the office after Shalala prevailed in 2018. District 27 covers much of the central Miami area and has generally been considered Democratic. Salazar sharply criticized Shalala for failing to report several stock sales in a timely fashion, as required.
In neighboring District 26, Gimenez won a seat that has frequently shifted between the two parties. Gimenez, a former firefighter and mayor since 2011, prevailed over Mucarsel-Powell in a district that stretches from the Miami suburbs to Key West.
— District 1: Outspoken Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a close ally of President Donald Trump, easily was reelected to his third term in a western Panhandle district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a grater than 2-1 ratio. He defeated Phil Ehr, a retired Navy commander who left the Republican Party in 2017 and ran as a Democrat.
— District 2: Republican U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn overwhelmingly won his third term in a conservative district that stretches from just west of Ocala to Panama City. Dunn didn’t have a Democratic opponent and faced only write-in opposition.
— District 3: Republican Kat Cammack has won Florida’s U.S. House seat held by her former boss, retiring Florida Republican Rep. Ted Yoho. Cammack, 32, defeated Democrat Adam Christensen in the firmly conservative congressional district that stretches from Ocala to just south of Jacksonville in north Florida.
— District 4: Republican John Rutherford, a former Duval County sheriff, was reelected on his third term in a heavily GOP district that includes most of Jacksonville and areas to the north and south. He defeated Democrat Donna Deegan, a former television news anchor who has worked to raise money for breast cancer research and to help patients.
— District 5: Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a longtime former state lawmaker, was reelected to his third term. He easily beat Republican Gary Adler in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 160,000 voters. It stretches from Jacksonville to just west of Tallahassee.
— District 6: Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz was reelected to his second term, easily beating lawyer Clint Curtis after outspending the Democratic challenger by a ratio of about 88-1 in a heavily GOP district that includes Daytona Beach.
— District 7: Florida Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy has been reelected to a third term, defeating Republican challenger Leo Valentin. Republicans once again made Murphy’s seat a target after she defeated 12-term Republican John Mica in 2016 and was able to fend off the GOP challenge in the central Florida district that includes part of Orlando.
— District 8: Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey was elected to his seventh term in a district that represents Florida’s Space Coast, easily defeating Democrat Jim Kennedy, who works as an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center.
— District 9: Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto was reelected to his third term representing an Orlando-area district, defeating Bill Olson, a retired Army sergeant who spent 27 years in the military.
— District 10: Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who rose to become Orlando’s first female police chief during a 27-year career with the department, was reelected to her third term, defeating Republican Vennia Francois in a firm Democratic Orlando district. Francois is a lawyer who previously worked for former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.
— District 11: Republican U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, a former speaker of the Florida House, was reelected to his sixth term, easily defeating Democratic challenger and teacher Dana Cottrell in a district that includes The Villages, a massive retirement community that has a history of supporting GOP candidates.
— District 12: Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis was reelected to his eighth term in a seat his father, Michael Bilirakis, held before him for 24 years. He defeated Democrat Kimberly Walker, an Army veteran and former correctional officer who was outspent by the incumbent by about a 60-1 ratio.
— District 13: Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has won reelection to Congress for a third term representing parts of Florida’s Tampa Bay area. Crist defeated Republican Anna Paulina Luna, who was seeking office for the first time.
— District 14: Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor was reelected to her eighth term representing a heavily Democratic district that includes Tampa. She defeated Republican Christine Quinn, who owns a food seasoning company based on passed down family recipes.
— District 15: Republican Scott Franklin has won Florida Rep. Ross Spano’s seat in the U.S. House. Franklin defeated Democrat Alan Cohn in Tuesday’s election, ensuring that Spano’s seat stays in Republican hands. Franklin defeated Spano in the Republican primary.
— District 16: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has won reelection for an eighth term representing parts of Florida’s Tampa Bay area. The Republican defeated state legislator Margaret Good, a Democrat.
— District 17: Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Steube won reelection to his second term, defeating Democrat Allen Ellison, who also lost to Steube in 2018 by nearly 35 percentage points.
— District 18: Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast has won reelection to his Florida seat for a third term. Mast defeated Democrat Pam Keith, an attorney and former Navy lawyer, in a district that includes coastal areas north of Palm Beach.
— District 19: Republican state Rep. Byron Donalds has been elected to the U.S. House seat now held by Florida Republican Francis Rooney. Donalds defeated Democrat Cindy Lyn Banyai in the heavily Republican southwest Florida district.
— District 20: Democratic U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, the longest serving member of Florida’s congressional delegation, easily was reelected to his 15th term representing a South Florida district. He defeated Republican Greg Musselwhite, who is a welding inspector.
— District 21: Democrat Lois Frankel has been reelected to Congress for a fifth term, defeating far-right media personality Laura Loomer. Frankel beat the Republican in a heavily Democratic district that includes President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Democrats typically carry the district by 20 percentage points or more.
— District 22: Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch defeated Republican lawyer Jim Pruden. Deutch was first elected in 2010 and represents a firmly Democratic district that includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.
— District 23: Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was reelected to her ninth term representing parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. She defeated Republican Carla Spalding, a Jamaican-born small business owner.
— District 24: Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson was reelected to her sixth term representing a Miami-Dade County district. She defeated Republican Lavern Spicer, who runs a local food bank.
— District 25: Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has been reelected to a 10th term in Congress after running unopposed. His district runs from western Miami-Dade County across rural and undeveloped areas in the middle of the state.
— District 26: Republican Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has won a Florida seat in the U.S. House, defeating a single-term Democrat. Gimenez, a former firefighter, prevailed over Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in a district that stretches from the Miami suburbs to Key West.
— District 27: Republican Maria Elvira Salazar has defeated Democrat Donna Shalala for a U.S. House seat in Florida. Salazar, a Spanish-language television newscaster, won in her second try for the office after Shalala prevailed in 2018. The district covers much of the central Miami area and has generally been considered Democratic.
Florida voters have approved a measure raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years, which advocates say will lift the pay for hundreds of thousands of workers in the state’s service-heavy economy.
A supermajority of Florida voters approved the amendment to the Florida Constitution that will raise Florida’s minimum wage from the current $8.56 an hour to $15 an hour by 2026.
Although Florida’s current minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, supporters of Amendment 2 had said it is impossible to live on that wage given the state’s cost of living.
Opponents of Amendment 2 said it would stifle growth as Florida’s battered tourism economy recovers from the impact of the new coronavirus.
All state constitutional amendments require a 60% supermajority for approval.
Here are the other ballot questions:
— Amendment 1, which clarifies that only U.S. citizens over age 18 were eligible to vote in elections, has passed.
— Amendment 3, which would have allowed all voters regardless of party affiliation to vote in primaries with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election, has failed.
— Amendment 4, which would have required amendments to the Florida Constitution to be approved in two elections instead of one, has failed.
— Amendment 5, which give homeowners an extra year to claim a homestead tax benefit, has passed.
— Amendment 6, which extends a property tax discount to the surviving spouse of a veteran with combat-related disabilities, has passed.
For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics