EDlection2018: The Happiest Republicans in the Country — From the Governor’s Mansion to Statehouse — Are in Florida
EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.
Florida Democrats weren’t able to dent the GOP’s hold in the state legislature, flipping just six seats in the state House and none, so far, in the Senate on Tuesday.
One Senate seat, District 18, appears headed for a recount with the Democratic challenger up by 82 votes over the Republican incumbent, Dana Young. But even if Democrats prevail there, they will be four seats short of a majority. That means that Republicans will retain unified control in Tallahassee, which they have held since Jeb Bush became governor two decades ago.
The night began promisingly for the blue squad: Gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum was leading his Republican opponent in most polls, and the possibility of flipping the state Senate seemed within reach.
But Gillum’s opponent, arch-conservative Rep. Ron DeSantis, won a narrow and somewhat surprising victory. Even the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Bill Nelson and incumbent Gov. Rick Scott proved disappointing, though it looks headed for a recount.
EDlection2018: DeSantis Squeezes by Gillum to Win Florida Governor’s Race, Will Work to Expand School Choice and Ensure More Spending Gets to Classrooms
With DeSantis ensconced in the governor’s mansion through 2022 and functional GOP majorities in the statehouse, Democrats’ dreams of changing schools in the state will again be deferred. The era of Republican dominance in the land of swaying palms has coincided with the ascendance of perhaps the most aggressive reform regimes in the country. An expansive private school voucher system, along with merit pay for teachers and a few other conservative priorities, have been the result.
While some had hoped that Gillum’s fresh face, along with the rush of activism following the Parkland shootings, would help Democrats carry the day, they will instead begin their third decade as a minority party in America’s third-largest state.
A 2018 EDlection Cheat Sheet: Recapping the 70 Candidates, Races & Winners That Matter Most for American Education Policy