The election of 36 governors has also provided the name of a possible contender for the White House in the 2024 presidential elections. Republican Ron DeSantis has comfortably revalidated his position as governor of Florida, becoming the strong man of the Republican Party against Donald Trump. The rest of the votes have hardly brought surprises. As the polls predicted, Democrat Wes Moore will become the first black governor of Maryland, and in Massachusetts, his co-religionist Maura Healey, until now State Attorney General, will be the first lesbian elected as governor, although not the only one; Tina Kotek is also expected to be elected in Oregon. The election of Maura Healey as governor of Massachusetts and that of her running mate as lieutenant governor, Kim Driscoll, also marks the first time a state has elected two women to those positions.
Rising star of the hard right, DeSantis, 44, a corrected and augmented copy of Trump despite his public disagreements with the former president, prevailed as the conservative state polls predicted over former Governor Charlie Crist, a former Republican who has passed over to the Democratic side. DeSantis’ re-election catapults him into the race for the White House, which Trump also intends to run for. The tycoon will formally announce his decision next Tuesday. DeSantis has not yet commented, but was significantly silent when asked if he was committed to serving his four-year term as governor. It remains to be seen if he dares to take the step and challenge the former president in the primaries, who has a strong ascendancy over the bases of the Republican Party.
DeSantis has championed some of the nation’s most bitter partisan battles – and culture wars – such as opposition to pandemic restrictions and the adoption of a law that limits discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools. Four years ago he became governor of the State in a very close election. This Tuesday has swept places like Miami-Dade County, which gave Hillary Clinton an advantage of more than 29 points just six years ago and today has leaned decidedly Republican, demonstrating the growing Republican clout among the Hispanic voters. The county had not voted for a Republican candidate for governor in two decades.
For this reason, in his victory speech in Tampa, in the midst of a mass of enthusiastic supporters, DeSantis has spared no hyperbole, assuring that voters have “rewritten the political map” of the State and describing his broad victory as “historic ”.
DeSantis’s was not the only victory for the Republicans sung among the governors. Greg Abbott, who in recent months has caused an internal migration crisis by sending hundreds of immigrants from Texas to New York and Washington, revalidated his mandate for the third time against the charismatic Democrat Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso. Faced with the inconsistency of the Floridian Crist as a candidate, O’Rourke’s defeat is another setback for the Democratic Party, incapable of recovering the government of the State for decades. The oratory of O’Rourke, a militant in defense of arms control, has succumbed to the powerful political apparatus of Abbott.
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The rest of the gubernatorial contests have proceeded according to forecasts. In Georgia, one of the most disputed states, candidate Stacey Abrams recognized the victory of her Republican opponent and current state governor, Brian Kemp, one of the few conservatives who have not succumbed to Trump’s siren song. In Arkansas, Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was press secretary for the Trump Administration and one of the youngest in the White House, was elected governor, according to the agency’s projection Associated Pressoccupying the position held by his father for a decade.
On the Democratic side, perhaps the most significant victory was that of the current state attorney general, Josh Shapiro, against conspiracist and radical Republican Doug Mastriano, defender of the unfounded theory of the theft of the 2020 elections propagated by Trump. In California, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who last year overcame a rival attempt to evict him from the post, easily won a second term. The governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, was ahead of her opponent Lee Zeldin at midnight with 70% of the votes counted, although the distance between the two had narrowed in recent polls. New York, therefore, will remain a fief blue, the color with which Democrats are identified. In Illinois, the current governor, JB Pritzker, a self-financing Democratic billionaire, revalidated his mandate, according to Associated Press. He was up against Republican Darren Bailey, a far-right, underfunded state senator.
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