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Florida, Governor

Former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) defeated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) and four others in the general election on November 6, 2018, for Florida's governorship. Businessman Chris King (D) was Gillum's running mate. State Rep. Jeanette Nuñez (R) was DeSantis' running mate.

Florida remained a Republican trifecta in the 2018 elections, where Republicans won the governor's office and both chambers of the state legislature. Florida first became a Republican trifecta in 1998 when Jeb Bush (R) was elected governor. Republicans took control of the Florida House of Representatives in the 1996 election and the Florida State Senate in the 1994 election.

The winner of this election stood to influence the state's redistricting process following the 2020 census. Under Florida state law, the state legislature is responsible for drawing new maps for U.S. House seats following the completion of the census. The governor has the power to veto these district map proposals. The governor does not have veto power over state legislative districts, which are also drawn by the state Legislature.

Heading into the election, forecasters called this race a toss-up or said it slightly favored Democrats. Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R), who was term-limited, won the 2010 election by 1.2 percentage points and the 2014 election by 1 percentage point. Recent presidential elections have been closely contested as well. Donald Trump (R) won the 2016 presidential election by 1.2 percentage points, while Barack Obama (D) won the 2012 election by 0.9 percentage points and the 2008 election by 2.8 percentage points.

Florida was one of 36 states that held an election for governor in 2018. Democrats gained seven previously Republican-held seats, and Republicans gained one previously independent-held seat. Heading into the 2018 elections, there were 16 Democratic governors, 33 Republican governors, and one independent governor. In 2018, 26 of the 33 states with a Republican governor held a gubernatorial election, while nine out of the 16 states with a Democratic governor held a gubernatorial election. Seventeen of the 36 seats up for election were open seats (four Democratic, 12 Republican, and one independent), meaning that the sitting governor was not seeking re-election.

Third-party candidates and independents who ran included Darcy Richardson (Reform), Ryan Foley (I), Kyle Gibson (I), Raphael Herman (I), and Bruce Stanley (I).


Florida gubernatorial election, 2018

Poll Poll sponsor Gillum (D) DeSantis (R)Other/undecidedMargin of errorSample size
Quinnipiac University
October 29-November 4, 2018
N/A 50%43%7%+/-3.51,142
St. Pete Polls
November 3-4, 2018
Florida Politics 50%45%5%+/-1.83,088
Marist University
October 30-November 2, 2018
NBC News 50%46%4%+/-5.0595
Targoz Market Research
October 28-31, 2018
N/A 43%46%11%+/-4.0558
Vox Populi Polling (undecided was not an option)
October 27-30, 2018
N/A 47%44%9%+/-3.7696
The Trafalgar Group
October 29-30, 2018
N/A 48%46%6%+/-1.92,543
October 24-29, 2018
CNN 49%48%3%+/-4.3781
October 27-29, 2018
N/A 47%47%6%+/-4.4495
Suffolk University
October 25-28, 2018
USA Today 45%44%11%+/-4.4500
University of North Florida
October 23-26, 2018
N/A 49%43%8%+/-3.01,051
Siena College
October 23-27, 2018
New York Times 48%43%9%+/-4.0737
October 23-26, 2018
CBS News 47%46%7%+/-4.0991
October 17-25, 2018
Reuters and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics 50%44%6%+/-3.41,069
AVERAGES 47.92% 45% 7.08% +/-3.65 1,095.85

Florida gubernatorial general election, 2018

Poll Poll sponsor Gillum (D) DeSantis (R)Other/undecidedMargin of errorSample size
October 20-22, 2018
DeSantis campaign 46%47%7%+/-2.02,500
Strategic Research Associates
October 16-23, 2018
Gray Television 45%48%7%+/-3.46800
Florida Atlantic University
October 18-21, 2018
N/A 41%37%22%+/-3.6704
Quinnipiac University
October 17-21, 2018
N/A 52%46%2%+/-3.51,161
St. Pete Polls
October 20-21, 2018
Florida Politics 47%46%7%+/-2.51,575
October 18-21, 2018
Bay News 9 Tampa and News 13 Orlando 49%42%9%+/-5.0665
SEA Polling & Strategic Design
October 17-20, 2018
N/A 48%42%10%+/-4.0600
October 16-20, 2018
CNN 54%42%4%+/-4.2759
OnMessage Inc.
October 14-18, 2018
Rick Scott (R) for Senate 44%46%10%+/-2.092,200
St. Pete Polls
October 15-16, 2018
Florida Politics 47%46%7%+/-2.21,974
Florida Southern College Center for Polling and Policy Research
October 1-5, 2018
N/A 47%44%9%+/-4.49476
AVERAGES 47.27% 44.18% 8.55% +/-3.37 1,219.45

Florida gubernatorial general election, 2018

Poll Poll sponsor Gillum (D) DeSantis (R)Other/undecidedMargin of errorSample size
Strategic Research Associates, LLC.
September 17-30, 2018
WCTV-TV 44%43%13%+/-3.46800
St. Pete Polls
September 29-30, 2018
Florida Politics 47%45%8%+/-2.02,313
Public Policy Polling
September 28-30, 2018
N/A 48%44%8%+/-4.0779
Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy
September 24-27, 2018
Leadership Florida and Florida Press Association 45%44%11%+/-3.5815
Quinnipiac University
September 20-24, 2018
Quinnipiac University 54%45%1%+/-4.0888
Cherry Communications
September 19-24, 2018
Florida Chamber of Commerce 48%42%10%+/-4.4
NBC News/Marist
September 16-20, 2018
NBC News 48%43%8%+/-4.7600
University of North Florida
September 5-12, 2018
N/A 47%43%10%+/-3.9605
Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics
September 5-12, 2018
Thomson Reuters and the University of Virginia Center for Politics 50%44%6%+/-3.51,000
Florida Atlantic University
September 13-16, 2018
Florida Atlantic University 41%39%20%+/-3.3850
Cherry Communications
September 6-9, 2018
Florida Chamber of Commerce 47%43%10%+/-4.4514
St. Pete's Polls
September 5-6, 2018
Florida Politics 48%47%5%+/-2.12,240
Quinnipiac University
August 30-September 3, 2018
Quinnipiac University 50%47%3%+/-4.3785
Public Policy Polling
August 29-30, 2018
Christian Ulvert 48%43%9%+/-3.6743
AVERAGES 47.5% 43.71% 8.71% +/-3.65 923.71

Race ratings

The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato's Crystal Ball. Each race rating indicates if one party is perceived to have an advantage in the race and, if so, the degree of advantage. Race ratings are informed by a number of factors, including polling, candidate quality, and election result history in the race's district or state.

Race ratings: Florida gubernatorial election, 2018

Race trackerRace ratings
November 5, 2018October 30, 2018October 23, 2018October 16, 2018
The Cook Political ReportToss-upToss-upToss-upToss-up
Inside Elections with Nathan L. GonzalesTilt DemocraticTilt DemocraticTilt DemocraticTilt Democratic
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal BallToss-upToss-upToss-upToss-up

Election history


Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Florida, 2014

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRick Scott/Carlos Lopez-Cantera Incumbent 48.1% 2,865,343
Democratic Charlie Crist/Annette Taddeo-Goldstein 47.1% 2,801,198
Libertarian Adrian Wyllie/Greg Roe 3.8% 223,356
No Party Affiliation Glenn Burkett/Jose Augusto Matos 0.7% 41,341
No Party Affiliation Farid Khavari/Lateresa Jones 0.3% 20,186
Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0% 137
Total Votes 5,951,561
Election results via Florida Division of Elections


Florida Gubernatorial/Lt. Gubernatorial General Election, 2010

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRick Scott/Jennifer Carroll 48.9% 2,619,335
Democratic Alex Sink/Rod Smith 47.7% 2,557,785
Independent Peter L. Allen/John E. Zanni 2.3% 123,831
No Party Affiliation C.C. Reed/Larry Waldo, Sr. 0.4% 18,842
No Party Affiliation Michael E. Arth/Al Krulick 0.3% 18,644
No Party Affiliation Daniel Imperato/Karl Behm 0.3% 13,690
No Party Affiliation Farid Khavari/Darcy G. Richardson 0.1% 7,487
Write-in Josue Larouse/Valencia St. Louis 0% 121
Total Votes 5,359,735
Election results via Florida Department of State


Demographic data for Florida

Total population:20,244,914316,515,021
Land area (sq mi):53,6253,531,905
Race and ethnicity**
Black/African American:16.1%12.6%
Native American:0.3%0.8%
Pacific Islander:0.1%0.2%
Two or more:2.4%3%
High school graduation rate:86.9%86.7%
College graduation rate:27.3%29.8%
Median household income:$47,507$53,889
Persons below poverty level:19.8%11.3%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "American Community Survey" (5-year estimates 2010-2015)
for more information on the 2020 census and here for more on its impact on the redistricting process in Florida.

As of July 2017, Florida's three largest cities were Jacksonville (pop. est. 860,000), Miami (pop. est. 430,000), and Tampa (pop. est. 360,000).