(CNN) — Some of the final pieces of the midterm puzzle came into focus with Tuesday’s primary in Florida, which along with New York and Oklahoma, wrapped up key parts of the November election list.
Democrats in Florida chose Representative Charlie Crist on Tuesday to face Governor Ron DeSantis, according to CNN projection. Crist’s challenge comes as DeSantis seeks both a second term and a boost ahead of a rumored 2024 presidential bid. CNN also projected Democratic Rep. Val Demings would face Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in November.
Meanwhile, in New York, where a protracted redistricting process delayed elections to the state House and Senate, CNN predicted that the career of one of the oldest members of the Democratic delegation has come to a dramatic end. .
A special election in upstate offered new clues about the political impact of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, after CNN projected that Democrat Pat Ryan, who framed his campaign as a referendum on the ruling, would win.
And in Oklahoma, Republicans have decided on a candidate to fill the remainder of Senator Jim Inhofe’s term before the special general election.
These are the keys to the last day of the primary in August.
Crist looks to derail DeSantis
For the second time in eight years, Democratic voters chose Charlie Crist as their gubernatorial candidate, choosing the veteran over Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who was running to become the state’s first female governor. Crist now has just 11 weeks to rally his party, energize the Democratic base and convince independent voters that the state needs a new direction.
- See full results in Florida here.
The stakes are high for Democrats, and not just in Florida, where DeSantis has already pushed an aggressively conservative agenda, promising that a second term will bring new measures to further restrict abortion and make it easier to carry guns in public. But national Democrats are also now seeking to have Crist halt DeSantis’ rise ahead of an anticipated 2024 White House campaign.
The task will not be easy. DeSantis has racked up $132 million for the general election, a record sum for a non-self-financing gubernatorial candidate, and has galvanized the Republican base more than any other GOP politician not named Donald Trump.
Primary Elections: Did Trump’s Influence Work?His party surpassed the Democrats in the number of registered voters in Florida for the first time. And it can point to a state economy that appears to be booming, with more people moving there than anywhere else in the country, record tourism numbers, and an unemployment rate of 2.7%, almost a full point below the level. national.
But Democrats have argued that the prosperity has not been shared by all. With some of the fastest rising house prices and rents in the country, Florida has become a paradise that many can no longer afford.
A homeowners insurance crisis has threatened coverage for millions of homeowners just as hurricane season reaches its peak. LGBTQ Floridians say the DeSantis administration has made the state more hostile toward them, and women say new abortion restrictions take away autonomy over their bodies and force them to see medically risky pregnancies.
Crist’s argument against another four years of DeSantis is also based on Floridians yearning for a less divisive tone from their leader. Throughout the primaries, Crist and Fried portrayed DeSantis as a bully and despot who is much more focused on positioning himself to run for the White House than he is on running the nation’s third-largest state. Time and time again, they have pointed out, DeSantis has forced the other powers of the state to submit to his will, removing any control over his executive branch.
Florida’s latest Senate race formally takes shape
The Senate race between Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Representative Val Demings is underway.
Demings won his primary Tuesday and Rubio was unopposed, setting up a race that Republicans think they should win handily but that offers Democrats another chance to show they can win statewide in a place that has crept into the right for years.
The two have been focused on each other for months — their primaries weren’t competitive — but Tuesday night, the contours of the race were clear: Rubio plans to cast Demings as a “Pelosi’s puppet” who is inextricably linked to the President Joe Biden, while Demings plans to attack Rubio as ineffective, self-serving, and wedded to a Trump-dominated GOP.
Demings’ responsibility is to show that she — or any Democrat — can win at the state level in a state that has overwhelmingly supported Republicans for years. But Democrats got a recent morale boost: The Republican National Senatorial Committee came up with an ad campaign for Rubio while Demings vastly outspent the Republican.
Like many Democrats, Demings is also hoping that the anger over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will propel her to an unlikely victory.
“I dream of an America where we protect constitutional rights, like a woman’s right to choose. I’ve said it throughout this campaign, let me say it again. We’re not going to back down. We’re not going to back down,” Demings said this week. Tuesday night.
Demings has the edge in fundraising — she has consistently outperformed Rubio and raised $12.2 million in the second quarter of 2022 — but the most important thing about her campaign will be her ability to counter attacks linking her to the “defund the police” movement.
Demings, the former Orlando police chief, has already put out her own ad refuting the criticism and had her campaigns identify her as “Chief Demings,” not Rep. Demings, in a not-so-subtle response to the attacks.