Winners and Losers of Florida’s 2020 Election Cycle

by | Nov 4, 2020

 

 

WINNERS

Wilton Simpson and Chris Sprowls – Florida’s incoming Senate President and House Speaker sealed the deal for the next two years, picking up five seats in the House and holding the line in the Senate despite a concerted Democrat effort to gain seats in both.

Pete Antonacci – The man tapped by then-Florida Governor Rick Scott to replace Brenda Snipes at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office has done an admirable job of keeping Florida out of the national conversation. Last night’s election went fairly smoothly, without any complaints of shenanigans or funny business from either party. It just proves that with a competent person running the show, Florida’s election process doesn’t have to look like a third-world Banana Republic.

Susie Wiles – She just keeps winning. It all started back in 2010 on Rick Scott’s campaign for Governor. She was a major player on Lenny Curry‘s mayor campaign in Jacksonville, and then ran Donald Trump’s Florida campaign in 2016. Four years later, she helped deliver another Trump win, defying the polls and helped seal the deal for a large number of GOP upset victories in the state. Regardless of what happens nationally, 2020 might be Wiles’ magnum opus.

Manny Diaz – The high-ranking Florida Senator from Senate District 36 was instrumental in campaigning to get out the vote for Republicans in South Florida. His help there was a significant factor in Trump’s historic performance in Florida.

Tom Fabricio – Scored a 54-46 upset win over Cindy Polo in House District 103. The district covers parts of Miami Lakes and Doral and Miramar in Broward County, and he won despite Polo having a substantial fundraising advantage.

Maria Elvira Salazar – Scoring what might be one of the biggest upsets of the night, Salazar ousted incumbent U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala from Florida’s 27th Congressional District. A strong showing by Republicans in heavily Latino Miami Dade helped make the difference. Salazar’s win was one of two major upsets of Nancy Pelosi-backed Democrat incumbents.

John Morgan – His help in dragging Amendment 2 over the finish line cemented his place at the top of the pantheon of Democrat influencers heading into 2022. And he’s already using the bully pulpit to bludgeon Nikki Fried.

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LOSERS

Donna Shalala – one of the last of the Clinton-era household names, Shalala’s incumbent ship capsized in an unexpected “red wave” thanks to the South Florida coattails of President Donald Trump, and a strong campaign by Maria Elvira Salazar. The Democrat’s defeat is one of the most notable in a string of stinging defeats that Politico described as a “dumpster fire” for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was expecting to gain some seats in 2020.

Florida Democratic Party – Another election cycle, and literally nothing to show for it. After they got caught with their hands in the Paycheck Protection Program cookie jar, Florida Democrats refused to explain how they managed to qualify for a loan they weren’t eligible for in the first place. The controversy forced them on defense from the early summer all the way through the election cycle. The end result:  zero pickups in the state senate.

Florida restaurants – Already facing economic challenges from coronavirus closures, the razor-thin passage of Amendment 2 put Florida restaurants behind the proverbial 8-ball as they now have to figure out how to budget for a scheduled, annual wage hike that will soon require them to pay a starting wage of $15 per hour.

Jennifer Webb – First elected in 2018, only securing 48 percent of the vote, losing to GOP newcomer Linda Chaney.  A St. Pete Polls survey claimed Webb had a 10 point lead as late as mid-October. Like most polling, that was obviously not the case.

Pollsters – Learn to code. As noted above, your work product is worthless.

Nikki Fried – The 2022 campaign for Florida Governor has already started, and Fried is already one step behind her faceless opponents. John Morgan nuked her in a press conference Wednesday over her “tepid” support of the $15 per hour minimum wage. At the press conference, he proclaimed “Nikki Fried has disqualified herself from any future or statewide office in the Democratic Party and I’m sorry to say that because I really thought she had a bright future.” Uh oh.

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