Vote now: What was the most important Florida news story of 2022?

by | Dec 15, 2022

With just over two weeks left before we ring a new year, The Capitolist‘s newsroom is already planning on a look back at the year that was 2022. But we want to hear from you, our readers, on what you think was the most important news story of the last 12 months.

We combed through our data and pulled out six important storylines that not only got a lot of attention from us, but also got a lot of clicks from our audience. Now, it’s your turn to decide which of these stories should be crowned the “Most important news story of 2022.” Here are the nominees:

Hurricane Ian devastates Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, and SW Florida

Making landfall in late September, the powerful storm packed a punch that flattened homes, destroyed businesses, and displaced families. At the same time, Ian had a way of capturing several major Florida news stories all at the same time. Sure, big storms always lead the headlines, but this one put even more scrutiny on Florida’s troubled property insurance market, while many believe it also sealed the deal for Governor Ron DeSantis’s re-election, allowing him to seize control over the narrative just a month into the general election cycle.

Ron DeSantis wins reelection by nearly 20 points

Long before Hurricane Ian was even a wispy rain cloud, DeSantis was cruising to a dominant lead over any potential challenger.

Democrats who think Charlie Crist wasn’t the best choice to face DeSantis conveniently forget that Nikki Fried got shellacked by Crist just as badly in the primary as Crist got shellacked by DeSantis in the general election.

The simple truth is that nobody in Florida stood a chance against DeSantis, he was that formidable this cycle, and for a lot more reasons than his performance during Hurricane Ian.

From school curriculum to taking on the media, from his stance on immigration to his stance against Disney’s politics, DeSantis controlled the political narrative in the state all year long, and many think he can and will parlay his political capital all the way to the White House in 2024.

Florida property insurance market meltdown, requiring two special sessions in 2022

Cancelled policies and higher premiums forced Florida homeowners to scramble in an effort to find affordable property insurance this year. Several companies found out the hard way that reinsurance, which insurers need to protect themselves from a catastrophic level of claims, would be too expensive, and faced with no alternative, many exited the Florida market or were declared financially insolvent and permanently ceased operations. The end result that was many property owners were left high and dry.

Lawmakers tried to address the problem during a special session in the spring, but the appetite to take on Florida’s powerful trial lawyers proved insufficient to pass meaningful reform. As the summer gave way to a pair of powerful hurricanes, the resulting damage – combined with new leadership in the legislature, resulted in a more aggressive overhaul by state lawmakers to bring the out-of-control market to heel.

Did they get the job done?  Let’s just hope this same topic isn’t a candidate for the 2023 Story of the Year.

DeSantis wages war on “woke” school boards, fights for parental rights

Targeting curriculum inappropriate for elementary schoolchildren, Governor DeSantis and GOP lawmakers teamed up to pass the Parental Rights in Education bill, which critics cleverly dubbed the “Don’t say gay bill.” But it passed with overwhelming support, not just in the legislature, but among voters too. DeSantis also helped push through the Stop-WOKE bill, an effort to toss out curriculum found to trigger feelings of guilt in students for the actions of their ancestors.

But DeSantis didn’t stop there. He also took the unusual step during an election year to throw his political capital behind more than two dozen local school board members ahead of the 2022 election and most of those won their races. He also removed four school board members and picked their replacements for failing to implement recommended safety measures in Broward County.

Real estate prices through the roof, Florida homes hold value while national market drops

Early in the year, all across the country, real estate prices were skyrocketing as demand for homes went through the roof. But as the economy continued to fizzle out, demand sagged, taking home prices with it. That is, everywhere except Florida, which has continued to defy the economic trend as home sellers aren’t in a hurry to sell – and so aren’t budging on price.

Part of the demand in Florida is due to a massive influx in new residents – Florida’s population growth has outpaced that of other states over the same period. That, coupled with an economy that hasn’t been terribly impacted by worldwide events so far, has combined to help Florida homes hold their value longer than other states.



  1. Anonymous

    State dropping case against that scientist is #1 story

  2. Karen

    Hurricane Ian.

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