With GOP Senate candidate Mike Braun of Indiana declared the winner over incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, and a stunning outcome apparently looming for Democrats in Florida, it looks like the vaunted blue wave touted by Democrats and the mainstream media has hit a red wall.
In Florida, in a potential shocker signaling Democrats could be in for a long night, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis jumped out to a 90,000 vote lead over charismatic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum with 97 percent of the vote tallied.
Perhaps even more surprising: GOP Senate candidate Rick Scott, with 97 percent of the vote recorded, was leading incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by about 58,000 votes.
A Nelson loss to Scott would flip the seat to Republicans and many analysts believe it would all but close the books on any realistic shot Democrats would have this cycle of retaking control of the Senate.
Despite a Quinnipiac poll showing Democrats Gillum and Nelson leading their Republican opponents by 7 points on the eve of the election, the two Republicans appear poised to deliver the first election shocker of the night if they continue to hold their leads.
Before Election Day, Florida Republicans were already lamenting their surprise choice in the primary of DeSantis, who hugged President Trump’s coattails throughout the campaign, left them vulnerable to losing their control of a state they’ve enjoyed for nearly a generation.
Sensitive to the fact that losing his surrogates in purple-state Florida could spell big trouble for his 2020 chances for re-election, Trump campaigned tirelessly on behalf of DeSantis and Scott in the Sunshine State. If they hang on to win, Trump will justifiably receive the lions share of the credit -- especially given that the DeSantis only seemed to catch on with Floridians in the last month of the campaign, when Gillum faced serious questions about his interactions with undercover FBI agents investigating corruption in Tallahassee. Gillum insisted he was not the target of their probe.
Now it appears Trump’s rallies and the attacks on Gillum took a toll.
GOP strategist Ford O’Connell tells Newsmax: “It tells you that Trump is still popular in the state of Florida. It probably also tells you that Democrats probably shouldn’t have gone so far left with a candidate like Gillum, and try to encroach into the southeast.”
The larger issue for Democrats as the night goes on: If the polls were that far off in Florida, what can they expect as other races come in across the country?
O’Connell remarked: “Obviously the entire time they [the polls] were favoring Gillum and Nelson, no question about it.”
Fox News called Braun the victor in Indiana over incumbent Donnelly at 9:16 p.m. E.T. CBS also called the race for Braun. With 61 percent of the vote in, Braun led Donnelly by 51% to 45%. The RealClearPolitics poll average had Donnelly ahead by 1.3%.
Fox host Laura Ingraham said given the difficulty DeSantis had in gaining traction, Trump’s impact on the race is clear.
“I’ve got to say it’s all Donald Trump who won this for him,” she remarked.
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