In one of the closest (and most closely-watched) races of the 2018 election, Republican representative Ron DeSantis has edged out Andrew Gillum to become Governor of Florida. Gillum, 39, is the mayor of Tallahassee, a husband, a father of three, a FAMU grad- and he's vying to be the Democratic candidate in Florida's gubernatorial race.
DeSantis' win was a crushing blow for Democrats, who had pinned their hopes on Gillum making history as the state's first black chief-of-state and recapturing the governor's mansion for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.
From the start of the campaign, race was a constant subtext.
The losses tempered big Democratic victories in governor races in two states, MI and Kansas, that voted for Republican President Donald Trump in 2016, bolstering the party's hopes of recapturing those states in the 2020 presidential election.
After winning the Republican nomination largely on the strength of Trump's endorsement, DeSantis turned to Trump's top 2016 Florida strategist to jump-start his general campaign when it stalled in September.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump rallied support for DeSantis this past week in Fort Myers and Pensacola, telling voters they had a choice "between greatness and gridlock".
Gillum trailed by about 1 percentage point and fewer than 80,000 votes when he conceded.
DeSantis called Gillum a "committed leftist ideologue".
In one of the most memorable lines in the debates, Gillum stopped short of calling DeSantis a racist but said "racists believe he is a racist". "They're now using full bullhorns".
Joyner said he moved to Florida to vote in the race. "I know a lot of people are waiting until tomorrow". I am not going to bow down to the altar of political correctness.
"I can guarantee you this, I'm not going anywhere", Gillum said.
Gillum replied: "My grandmother used to say a hit dog will holler".
But the Tallahassee mayor was forced to defend himself against accusations of wrongdoing related to an FBI investigation of city government, which became a cornerstone of DeSantis' campaign.
New statistics released Tuesday by the state Division of Elections show that more than 2.7 million people voted early, and almost 2.5 million people have voted by mail.
DeSantis' victory as the next governor of Florida will also have a lasting impact on the state's Supreme Court. The Dream Defenders also support the "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" movement against Israel. He signed the Dream Defenders' "Freedom Pledge", which states support for the group's broader agenda - but Gillum's campaign said the candidate was only expressing support for a pledge not to accept campaign contributions from private prison companies. But Democrat Christine Hallquist lost her bid to become the first openly transgender United States governor in Vermont, where Republican incumbent Phil Scott won re-election. Bernie Sanders have stumped for Gillum.
Monday night, with Sean "Diddy" Combs and other big stars by his side, Gillum campaigned until the very end with a huge rally and concert that went until early this morning at Florida A&M University.