Not only were they wrong, but they were hugely wrong: By Tuesday evening, it was clear that the GOP's Gov. Ron DeSantis was not only going to win reelection but that he would do so in blowout fashion, winning by nearly 20 points after only winning by 30,000 votes in 2018.
And during his victory speech, DeSantis, a former U.S. congressman, Navy vet, and the Republican Party's rising star, made it clear he's not done with his political career by a long shot, signaling future aspirations.
“We made promises to the people of Florida and we have delivered on those promises. And so today, after four years, the people have delivered their verdict. Freedom is here to stay,” DeSantis said with his wife, Casey DeSantis, by his side. “Now, thanks to the overwhelming support of the people of Florida, we not only won the election, we have rewritten the political map. Thank you for honoring us with a win for the ages.”
BREAKING: Ron DeSantis has been projected to win re-election in Florida. pic.twitter.com/WOIGvg3XxI
— LifeNews.com (@LifeNewsHQ) November 9, 2022
He then pointed out that his relentless focus on keeping the state open and functioning as much as possible during the pandemic and beyond led to historic numbers of Americans relocating there, and many of them, if not most, registering as Republicans.
“Now this great exodus of Americans, for those folks, Florida for so many of them, has served as the promised land,” the newly reelected governor said. “We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order. We have protected the rights of parents. We have respected our taxpayers and we reject woke ideology. We fight the woke in the legislature, we fight the woke in the schools, we fight the woke in the corporations, we will never ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die!”
“People have come here because our policies work,” DeSantis continued. “Leadership matters. We refuse to use polls and put our finger in the wind. Leaders don’t follow, they lead. We set out a vision. We executed on that vision. And we produced historic results, and the people of this state have responded in record fashion. Now while our country flounders due to failed leadership in Washington, Florida is on the right track.
“I believe the survival of the American experiment requires a revival of true American principles. Florida has proved that it can be done. We offer a ray of hope that better days still lie ahead. I am proud of our achievements in this state. I am honored by your support, and I look forward to the road ahead. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race in this first term. And I have kept the faith. We’ve accomplished more than anybody thought possible four years ago, but we’ve got so much more to do, and I have only begun to fight,” DeSantis noted further.
DeSantis has regularly been mentioned as a potential GOP presidential contender in 2024, though it's not at all clear he's interested in that job just yet. Besides, for all the world, it is looking like former President Donald Trump will want to jump back in for a third try to win a second term, though clearly after Republicans underperformed expectations during Tuesday's midterms, new questions are arising about Trump's viability.
“Suddenly, 2024 doesn’t feel so far away. Nor does Trump look like the only choice or the inevitable nominee,” New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin wrote Wednesday morning.
“In that sense, the night was a coming-out party for DeSantis, who has been wary of talking about anything other than re-election. He won narrowly four years ago, but his margin Tuesday will garner enormous attention among Republicans desperate for an alternative to Trump,” Goodwin added.