In the much-anticipated Florida primary contests today, Tuesday, Aug. 23, two Democrats are vying for the chance to be Sunshine State giant slayers. Both gubernatorial candidates – former governor and current Representative Charlie Crist and Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried – have promised that their elevation will mark the end of Governor Ron DeSantis’ political career. While such ambition plays well nationally, local voters may not be buying the hype.
Nothing Local in Democrats’ Florida Primary
In one of his latest campaign tweets, Crist made it abundantly clear that his focus is on the national platform rather than just Florida politics. “We aren’t just making DeSantis a one-term governor — we’re ending his 2024 presidential run. The stakes are that high in this election, Florida,” he wrote. Crist himself is a strange political animal who, despite holding office since 1992, is better known for his losses than his wins.
As Liberty Nation’s Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner noted, “If nothing else, Charlie Crist is an open-minded public servant. He is perhaps the only politician in the country who has run for Congress, Senate, and governor — while starting as a Republican, switching to become an independent, and now a Democrat. He is effective at the art of politics, and especially at fundraising, but he is empty at his core — at a time when the Florida Democratic Party, due in large part to the popularity of Governor Ron DeSantis, is at its lowest point in years.”
Fried won her position heading up the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2018 by less than 1%, making her the only Democrat to win a statewide race in that election cycle. Her gubernatorial platform appears to be following a similar pattern to Crist’s in terms of its focus, with the candidate tweeting just hours before the polls opened, “Donald Trump is the greatest threat to our national security, but Ron DeSantis is the greatest threat to democracy.”
Polling for the Democrat contenders suggests this will be an uncomplicated race. Crist – perhaps due to being a permanent Florida political fixture – has taken the lead in every major survey to date. However, should he win the primary, facing the incumbent DeSantis in November will be far more competitive.
A runoff between two GOP candidates to replace US Senator Jim Inhofe (who announced he would be retiring effective January 2023) is on the ballot in Oklahoma. The June primary failed to hand any of the ten candidates more than 50% of the vote, meaning today’s election is between the top two contenders from that race. Markwayne Mullin is currently a representative in the US House for his state’s second congressional district. He faces T.W. Shannon, who formerly served in the state’s House.
Although US Senate races are always closely watched, the initial primary and current polling results suggest this could be an easy win for Trump-endorsed Mullin.
On June 28, Mullin took 42.7% of the vote against Shannon’s 17.5%, a difference of almost 100,000 ballots. If the field were a fraction narrower, there might not even be a special election today. While both candidates tout their conservative credentials, their pro-life stance, and their general adherence to America First principles, it was Mullin who got the golden ticket endorsement. Polling on this race is sparse, but the latest available survey hands Mullin a clear win.
This Senate seat will next be up for grabs in 2026.
New York’s 19th Special
Due to recent map changes, New York has two primary days this season. The first was on June 28, and the second batch is being held today. New Yorkers receive this balloting gift courtesy of what some are calling the “Hochulmander” – a heady mix of redistricting courtesy of Governor Kathy Hochul.
Amid the gerrymandering, New York’s 19th congressional district map has been altered. Former Democrat Representative Antonio Delgado quit the seat to become lieutenant governor, and the newly redrawn district is being presented to voters both in a primary to determine who will take it in November, and a special election to decide who gets to serve the remainder of Delgado’s term until 2023.
Pat Ryan (D) and Marc Molinaro (R) are facing off in the special election for the soon-to-be recreated district. Polling gives Molinaro a three-point lead in the latest survey, down from his former seven-point advantage at the beginning of August.
The Republican primary for this district is complete: Molinaro is already the GOP nominee. Democrats are choosing their candidate today – however, their primary does not include Ryan, who is running for the newly drawn 18th congressional district. Instead, Jamie Cheney and Josh Riley are competing to run for the seat in November.
This area – in its current iteration – has voted for the GOP candidate in 12 of the last 16 elections and it went for Trump in 2016. There is a solid conservative element, making this a competitive race.