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News Service Of Florida

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

Donald Trump shows no love for Carlos ‘Quebella’

President Donald Trump, describing it as “very close to complete victory,” celebrated the wins of his endorsed candidates in Tuesday’s midterm elections, including what could be a 7-0 record in Florida.

During a rambling post-election news conference Wednesday, Trump also took a shot at Republicans who didn’t embrace him, such as Congressman Carlos Curbelo, who was narrowly defeated for his South Florida seat by Democrat Debbie MucarselPowell.

“They did very poorly,” Trump said. “I don’t know if I should feel happy or sad about it, but I feel just fine about it.”

Trump taunted Curbelo along with U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, who lost in Colorado; U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock in Virginia; U.S. Rep. Mia Love in Utah; and U.S. Rep. John Faso in New York.

Curbelo’s spokeswoman Joanna Rodriguez tweeted a simple “Lol” in response after it was pointed out that Trump pronounced Curbelo’s name “Quebella.”

Curbelo was the only incumbent congressman in Florida to be defeated, while Democrats also flipped an open South Florida seat on Tuesday.

Curbelo broke with Trump on issues such as immigration. His district, which covers Southwest Miami-Dade County and all of Monroe County, has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Trump publicly endorsed Gov. Rick Scott’s run for U.S. Senate; former Congressman Ron DeSantis for Governor; Congressmen Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz and Ted Yoho as they ran for re-election; and congressional candidates Ross Spano and Michael Waltz.

“Rick Scott won, and I helped him,” Trump bragged after saying his efforts overcame “a lot of celebrities” that campaigned for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

The Scott-Nelson contest is expected to require a recount.

Health care not an elixir for Florida Democrats

Florida Democrats pushed health care as a top priority during this year’s elections, hammering Republicans for attempts to repeal Obamacare and the potential loss of insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Democrats also hoped support for a Medicaid expansion would help foment a “blue wave” that was supposed to wash over the state Tuesday.

After Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum and other candidates for statewide offices were defeated, the “blue wave” looks more like a blue puddle, with health care not giving the Democratic Party the shot in the arm it wanted.

Alan Levine, a key health-care adviser to former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, said while numerous polls indicated that health care was a top concern with the voters, the words “health care” mean different things to different people.

“When you looked at polling, health care ranked second or third, but you don’t know what that means. To some people, the issue of health care is being very upset because their premiums costs so much,” said Levine, now the president and chief executive officer of the Mountain States Health Alliance, the largest hospital and health system in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. “To others, it’s that they don’t have access.”

Florida Republicans have long fought the federal Affordable Care Act, the health care law commonly referred to as Obamacare. And Democrats were hoping to pounce on the health-care records of their GOP opponents. Democrats held regular media conference calls berating Republicans, including gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott, who challenged Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

DeSantis won Tuesday night, though it became apparent Thursday that a recount might be triggered by the closeness of the race. Scott declared victory in his race against Nelson, but a recount is expected to be required.

Scott, a former health-care executive, was first elected in 2010 on an anti-Obamacare platform and — with the exception of a brief moment in 2014 — adamantly opposed expansion of Medicaid benefits to uninsured, childless adults under the federal law.

Working closely with the Florida House, Scott helped beat back the state Senate’s efforts to expand Medicaid in 2015. Later that year, he assembled a task force that examined health-care costs and in 2016 pursued legislation that would have capped what hospitals could charge patients.

This year, the Scott administration asked the federal government to give Florida the green light to eliminate a long-standing policy of retroactively covering hospital and nursing home bills for Medicaid-eligible patients. The policy would save nearly $100 million and impact about 9,000 elderly and disabled patients.

DeSantis, a former congressman, has sharply criticized the Affordable Care Act and government-provided health care.

But a debate in Congress about repealing and replacing Obamacare took place in 2017. And while there were protests across Florida about a possible repeal, that is a lifetime in today’s quick-paced political environment.

“In the news cycle phenomenon, health care is old,” said Florida political expert Susan McManus, adding that the “one-two-three punch” in the gubernatorial election were recent headline-grabbing issues that drove Republican voters to the polls in support of DeSantis. Those issues were the confirmation process of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a migrant “caravan” heading toward the United States and allegations of ethical lapses against Gillum.

“Health care just wasn’t as powerful as those other things,” MacManus said.

Because health care is delivered locally, there’s a maxim that health care is a local issue, which could be why it didn’t transcend with voters statewide. But it did play a role in congressional Districts 26 and 27 which were won by Democrats Debbie MucarselPowell and Donna Shalala, respectively.

Mucarsel-Powell, a former associate dean at Florida International University’s medical school, criticized Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo on a number of issues and told The New York Times that it was his votes to repeal and replace Obamacare that inspired her to run.

Shalala, who was secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for President Bill Clinton, served as president of the University of Miami from 2001 to 2015. She won a seat Tuesday that was open because of the retirement of Republican Congresswoman Ileana RosLehtinen.

The South Florida districts are considered ground zero for Obamacare enrollment, with some of the largest number of enrollees in the state and nation. Miami-Dade County had nearly 395,000 people in a health-insurance exchange that is part of the federal law.

“The demographics of a district are important.” Levine told The News Service of Florida. “Take it to the bank. It came into play there.”

Statewide, more than 1.7 million people were enrolled in insurance plans through the federal health exchange this year. Many of them found coverage in the exchange with the assistance of Florida Covering Kids and Families. Located at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, the organization serves as the state’s main navigator for people seeking coverage.

Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids and Families, held out hope that the 2018 elections could be a turning point for the state’s health-care system. While she is able to help those who qualify for Obamacare policies, another 800,000 people in Florida don’t earn enough money to be on the exchange but don’t qualify for government coverage because the state didn’t expand Medicaid.

“We were hoping that there was a potential to bring that up in the future. That’s a shame that fight may not happen,” she said.

Ron DeSantis win paves way for conservative court

Ron DeSantis’ narrow win in Tuesday’s election for Governor will bring an unprecedented expansion of conservative Republican power in Tallahassee.

Democrats haven’t won a Governor’s race since 1994. They haven’t controlled the state House or Senate since the mid-1990s. They lost their last Cabinet member in 2010.

Now, with DeSantis’ election, that conservative Republican influence will extend to the Florida Supreme Court, which has a 4-3 liberal majority that has blocked many initiatives advanced by the Republican-led Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott.

As he takes office on Jan. 8, DeSantis, a 40-year-old former congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach, will have the power to appoint three new members of the state’s highest court, replacing three justices who are part of the liberal bloc and who have reached a mandatory retirement age.

DeSantis, a Harvard-educated lawyer, has said that he will appoint conservative justices who are “solid constitutionalists.”

Talking to reporters Tuesday night in Orlando, DeSantis said his court appointees “will be very, very smart, very principled people, but they’re going to understand that their role is to apply the law and not rewrite the law.” He said the appointments will bring an end to “judicial activism” on the court.

The appointments may also have a lasting impact since voters approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday that will allow the new justices, as well as other judges throughout the state, to serve until they are 75 years old, up from the current mandatory retirement age of 70.

A conservative majority on the Supreme Court is likely to be more deferential to initiatives advanced by DeSantis and the Legislature, where the GOP on Tuesday maintained a solid majority in the House and at least 23 seats in the 40-member Senate.

But in his victory speech, DeSantis talked little about partisan politics and emphasized the need as the state’s next Governor to work with all Floridians, including those who opposed him.

“Political campaigns are a rough business and often about highlighting our differences. And, unfortunately, in this day and age they often spiral into outright demagoguery,” DeSantis said. “But governing is different. Governing is about getting things done on behalf of the people of Florida, keeping our economy going, improving our water quality and environment, promoting public safety and expanding educational opportunities.

“We need to build a Florida that is cleaner, safer, stronger and that will be my guiding light as governor,” he said.

DeSantis said one area where he might unite Floridians will be behind an effort to address the problems of toxic algae and red tide and on moving forward with plans to restore the Florida Everglades.

“I think the first priority in terms of what is really urgent for Florida is really getting us on a strong track on water quality and the environment,” he said.

DeSantis said he would use his relationship with President Donald Trump, who held campaign rallies for him, to advance the federal portions of the effort, including the creation of a reservoir near Lake Okeechobee to help divert and treat polluted water.

“I think you’re going to get tired of me calling you, asking you for things for Florida,” DeSantis said about Trump. “But I look forward to that. I think we’ll have a great partnership.”

DeSantis will also have willing partners in the Florida House and Senate. Incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican, was an early supporter of DeSantis. The newly elected Lieutenant Governor, Republican state Rep. Jeanette Nunez, a Miami, will also help DeSantis navigate the legislative process.

Lawmakers and the new Governor are likely to find common ground on issues such as tax cuts, opposition to expanding Medicaid and the creation of more educational “choice” programs like charter schools and scholarships to send students to private schools.

DeSantis is also a strong supporter of gun rights, meaning any gun-control efforts are not likely to advance, and is open to restrictions on abortions. In the Republican primary, he voiced support for a “heartbeat bill,” which would prohibit doctors from providing abortions if fetal heartbeats can be detected.

As U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Iraq war, DeSantis will also find legislative support for his efforts to support active military members and veterans in the state.

One of DeSantis’ biggest challenges will be moving from a legislative branch, where he served nearly three terms in Congress, to the chief executive of the nation’s third-largest state.

DeSantis is taking over a huge enterprise, and one of his first tasks will be shaping a state budget proposal for 2019-2020 that is likely to be in excess of $89 billion.

He also must appoint a host of state agency heads overseeing areas such as education, health care, transportation and prisons.

Even prior to Tuesday’s election, DeSantis said he was putting together a transition plan for taking over from Scott, who leads in a U.S. Senate race that is expected to require a recount.

“You have to put together a government. I mean that’s a lot of work,” DeSantis said. “We have been doing this quietly behind the scenes, not to be presumptuous, but just because you don’t have enough time. You have to start doing it.”

ballots

Florida’s midterm elections by the numbers

A Governor’s race. A U.S. Senate race. Donald Trump.

The 2018 midterm elections in Florida pretty much had everything a political junkie could want. Here are some of the numbers from Tuesday’s unofficial results:

62: The percentage of voters who went to the polls. For those of you keeping score at home, that equates to 8.25 million voters out of nearly 13.28 people who were registered to cast ballots.

77: The turnout percentage in Sumter County, the highest in the state. No wonder Republican politicians head to Sumter County every two years to woo voters in The Villages retirement community. GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, for example, received nearly 70 percent of the vote in Sumter.

57 and 57: The turnout percentages in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, respectively. For Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, those number might have sealed his loss Tuesday. Southeast Florida is long where Democrats have gone to pile up margins.

54: The number of counties won by DeSantis and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott. Yes, from Escambia to Monroe, they won the same counties.

13: The number of counties won by Gillum and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bill Nelson, including all of the large urban counties — Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Orange, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Duval. The others carried by the Democrats were Alachua, Gadsden, Leon, Osceola, Seminole and St. Lucie.

4: The number of counties that Republican President Donald Trump won in 2016 that went to Gillum and Nelson this year. Those four were Duval, Pinellas, Seminole and St. Lucie.

1: Scott’s margin of victory — as in one vote — over Nelson in Monroe County. Scott got 18,021 votes, while Nelson got 18,020.

11: The number of constitutional amendments approved by voters. From restoring the rights of felons who have served their sentences to banning greyhound racing, voters were on board with the ballot proposals. The outcome was a victory for the state Constitution Revision Commission, which got seven of its proposals approved.

58: The percentage of votes received by Amendment 1, the only ballot proposal that failed to reach the required 60 percent threshold to pass Tuesday. Amendment 1 would have provided a larger homestead property-tax exemption to many Floridians.

0: The number of statewide offices that Democrats will hold if Nelson and Agriculture-Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried do not prevail in recounts. Nelson has been the lone Democratic statewide office-holder since former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2010.

Alan Lawson wins retention on the Supreme Court

Florida voters Tuesday agreed to keep Justice Alan Lawson on the state Supreme Court.

More than 71 percent of voters supported retaining Lawson, who was appointed to the state’s high court by Gov. Rick Scott in 2016.

Also, they voted to retain 17 judges on district courts of appeal. Voters in 1978 agreed to use a merit-retention system for Supreme Court justices and appellate judges.

Under the system, justices and appellate judges are appointed to the bench and later go before voters to determine if they should be retained. Jurists face an initial retention vote in the first general election after their appointment.

If retained, they serve six years before facing another retention vote. No justice or judge has failed to be retained since the system was adopted.

Lawson succeeded Justice James E. C. Perry, who was forced to retire due to an age limit.

The Florida Constitution establishes a mandatory retirement age for justices on or after their 70th birthdays.

The exact date of retirement depends on when the 70th birthday occurs. If the birthday occurs during the first half of a justice’s six-year term, then the mandatory retirement age is the same as the birthday. If the 70th birthday occurs in the second half of a term, then the justice can remain on the bench until the full term expires.

Voters on Tuesday also approved a constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 6, that raises the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75.

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Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Hurricane Michael

Gulf Power storm repairs could top $350 million

Gulf Power, the largest utility in Northwest Florida, expects a final tab of hundreds of millions of dollars from Hurricane Michael.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday by the utility’s parent company, Gulf estimated that costs of repairing transmission and distribution lines and “uninsured facilities” will total $350 million to $400 million.

The filing by The Southern Company, which is Gulf’s parent, did not provide a detailed breakdown of the costs.

But it said that as of Sept. 30, Gulf Power had $48 million in a property-damage reserve. Under a 2017 rate-settlement agreement, Gulf is able to ask the Florida Public Service Commission for approval to recoup storm-related costs from customers and to replenish the reserve to $40 million. But the filing indicated a decision has not been made.

“The ultimate outcome of this matter cannot be determined at this time,” the filing said.

The Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall Oct. 10 in Mexico Beach and caused massive damage as it tore through parts of Northwest Florida and went into Georgia.

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Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Florida’s U.S. Senate race headed for a recount

Despite GOP Gov. Rick Scott claiming victory Tuesday night, the U.S. Senate election between him and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is heading to a recount.

The initial margin of victory is less than a half-percent, which triggers an automatic machine recount under state law. Just 26,056 votes separate the two candidates out of more than eight million cast, according to the state’s elections website.

Scott, a former Naples businessman, won election as governor in 2010 by one percent, and then won re-election in 2014 by one percent, and looked to have knocked off Nelson by less than one percent.

At 12:15 a.m., Nelson’s longtime chief of staff, campaign manager and confidant Pete Mitchell addressed what was left of his campaign party, declaring the race had been called by multiple media outlets, that Scott had won, and that Nelson would be making a statement Wednesday.

“Numerous reports on the Senate race have called it for Gov. Scott. This is obviously not the result Sen. Nelson’s campaign has worked so hard for. The Senator will be making a full statement tomorrow.” An exhausted-looking Mitchell then left the room.

In the light of day Wednesday, a new reality emerged: those South Florida votes came in and put the race in recount territory.

“We are proceeding to a recount,” Sen. Nelson said Wednesday morning in a brief statement.

From here, local supervisors of election will recheck the tally, and the Nelson campaign will contact voters with verification issues. The campaign will have observers in all 67 counties.

As a measure of how close Tuesday night was, this isn’t even the biggest statewide nail biter: a manual recount scenario is in play for the Agriculture Commissioner race between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell, with the margin there at 8,254 votes and outstanding mail ballots from Democratic strongholds Broward and Palm Beach, as well as Democratic performing Duval County.

The Governor’s race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, is also on a razor’s edge, though with a 0.58 percent spread it is outside of recount territory. If Gillum snags another 6,000 or so votes, he and DeSantis will join the club.

A close call after an expensive election on both sides.

A Scott spokesman criticized Nelson immediately: “This race is over,” Chris Hartline said. “It’s a sad way for Bill Nelson to end his career. He is desperately trying to hold on to something that no longer exists.”

This election not only shattered Florida records for money spent on the campaigns — $177 million through last week, with bills still not posted — but also set new low-water marks for negative campaigning, as both candidates and their allies strove to define or redefine their opponents:

— For Scott, that meant Nelson and several Democratic committees combined to spend at least $80 million convincing voters that the governor cut education funding, stripped away environmental protections, oversaw Florida’s red tide disaster, waffled on health care pre-existing conditions coverage, refused to expand Medicaid in Florida, pushed through tax cuts that made rich people richer, and had a dodgy business career, highlighted by massive Medicare and Medicaid fraud by his company.

— For Nelson, that meant Scott and the New Republican PAC spent nearly $100 million, including at least $51 million of Scott’s own fortune, convincing voters that Nelson’s accomplished little or nothing in a half-century in public service, other than voting along Democratic lines in key moments involving taxes and health care; has long been an empty suit collecting government pay and amassing government pension benefits; and that he’s getting old, and perhaps growing “confused.”

Campaigns are “divisive” and “tough,” Scott said.

“And they’re really actually way too nasty,” he said. “But you know what? We’ve done this for over 200 years, and after these campaigns, we come together.”

That kumbaya moment won’t happen until after the recount, however.

While Scott’s campaign aggressively and sometimes angrily fought back against the charges leveled against him in the Democrats’ campaigns, Nelson mostly shrugged off Scott’s attacks.

The governor, in what may have been a premature victory speech, vowed to bring to Washington the same business-like approach he used as an outsider when he assumed office eight years ago as governor.

“The federal government is frustrating. It’s outdated. It’s wasteful. It’s inefficient,” Scott said. “All of us in state government have dealt with the federal government over the last eight years, and we can tell you story after story after story. Now, I’m just one individual, but there are a lot of other individuals in D.C. that want to do the same thing. And I’m going to work with them and we will change, like we did in Florida, the direction of Washington, D.C.”

For all his public awkwardness that supporters say makes him look genuine and critics say makes him look creepy, Scott managed, especially in the closing weeks, to project a sincerity: someone who looked in command overseeing hurricane recovery, someone who looked comfortable playing with his grandchildren, someone who sounded true stating his positions.

Also in play was Nelson’s card-carrying membership in the opposition to President Donald Trump, while Scott went from close friend and ally of Trump, to someone who hardly ever spoke the president’s name, to someone who joined the divisive party leader at a rally last week. In huge swathes of Florida outside the urban cores, Trump’s support may remain unchanged, and party leaders like Volusia Chair Tony Ledbetter spoke of a Republican base that was angry, ready to vote.

Many political observers postulated that Nelson had never previously been seriously challenged in his Senate campaigns, beating then-U.S. Rep. Bill McCullum in 2000; controversial Secretary of State Katherine Harris in 2006; and then U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV in 2012, each by easy margins. Lucky some called him.

Scott, meanwhile, was seen by many political observers as someone capable of overcoming negative campaigning against him to come out of nowhere to win, as he did in 2010, defeating Alex Sink 49-48; or with an underwater favorability rating, as he did in 2014, defeating ex-Gov. Charlie Crist, 48-47. His personal wealth certainly helped: he spent $73 million of his own money in 2010, and at least $51 million this time.

However, the election isn’t over. Yet.

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Orlando correspondent Scott Powers, Jacksonville correspondent A.G. Gancarski, and The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

Falling waters state park

State continues work to reopen storm-damaged parks

Portions of Falling Waters State Park, which features Florida’s highest waterfall, reopened Tuesday as work continues to clean and repair damages from last month’s Hurricane Michael, the state Department of Environmental Protection said.

The Washington County park sustained facility, boardwalk, road and trail damages in the Oct. 10 storm. The park remains closed to overnight camping.

“Florida State Parks staff continue to work as quickly as possible to finish remaining clean-up and repairs,” the state agency said. “Amenities and access to certain areas of the parks may be limited until the work is completed.”

Seven other state parks remain closed due to storm damages. The department reported that 31 state parks were affected by the storm.

The hardest-hit park was T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park at Cape San Blas. Roads, campgrounds and buildings were demolished, sand buried entire portions of the park and two inlets were cut into the park, leaving areas accessible only by boat.

Marijuana

State challenged again on marijuana licenses

A Winter Springs company has filed the latest in a series of legal challenges arguing that the state is violating a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

K N Y Medical Care, LLC, which does business as AKESOE, filed the case Monday in Leon County circuit court after unsuccessfully seeking state approval to enter the medical-marijuana industry.

The wide-ranging lawsuit targets actions by the Florida Department of Health, which regulates medical marijuana, and a 2017 law that was designed to carry out the voter-approved constitutional amendment.

As an example, the lawsuit contends that the 2017 law improperly placed caps on the number of medical-marijuana licenses.

“The defendants’ [state agencies and officials] failure to comply with their constitutional duties is … severely harming competition in the marketplace by delaying the entrance of new businesses, like AKESOE, into the market and thereby strengthening the improper monopoly hold that the current [licensed operators] have on the market,” the lawsuit said.

“In addition, the lack of competition in the marketplace is causing harm to patients through increased and inflated costs. Because there are so few [operators], there is no incentive for the current [operators] to offer competitive pricing on their products since there are no alternative sources for patients to purchase their medicine.”

The lawsuit follows other challenges to the way the state has carried out the 2016 amendment. For instance, Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson last month ruled that the 2017 law is unconstitutional and ordered the state to begin registering new medical-marijuana operators. Gov. Rick Scott’s administration has appealed that ruling.

Ashley Moody easily defeats Sean Shaw to become next Attorney General

History repeats: Another Tampa Bay-area prosecutor will be Florida’s Attorney General.

Republican Ashley Moody, a former judge and prosecutor, came out ahead in the statewide race to be Florida’s chief legal officer. She defeated Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw, also of Tampa.

With 99.2 percent of precincts reporting statewide, Moody had more than 52 percent of the vote to Shaw’s nearly 46 percent. No-party candidate Jeffrey Marc Siskind also received just under 2 percent of the vote.

Moody called the outcome “an honor” while standing Tuesday night with her family and Bondi before supporters at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel in Tampa.

“The preparation for this role really began a long time ago, beginning with my father, a judge who taught me that the strength and resilience of our society hinges on a fair judicial system,” she said. “Not only a fair judicial system, but one that is perceived as fair. And I will work towards that end every day as the attorney general.”

Shaw told supporters Tuesday night “we came so close,” but he said Democrats will have to review how they engaged with voters, particularly about Trump.

“Something is weird, and we have to figure that out,” Shaw said. “The voters aren’t wrong. You’re wrong in talking to them, or we didn’t do a good enough job convincing. Democrats around Florida, we’re going to figure this out.”

The incoming Attorney General won her spot with the support of outgoing Attorney General Pam Bondi, who got on board early with Moody’s candidacy.

Bondi, a longtime colleague of Moody’s in Tampa Bay’s legal community, supported the candidate through a contentious Republican primary against lawmaker Frank White.

Shaw, the son of the late Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander Shaw, beat Ryan Torrens to secure the Democratic nomination in a fight that got tense, with Shaw at one point forcing Torrens off the ballot.

The fight leading into the general election largely centered around Shaw’s vision for an activist Attorney General. He promised not to spend office resources fighting unconstitutional laws and to take a proactive position fighting Florida’s opioid epidemic.

Meanwhile, Moody promised to be a strong ally of law enforcement. Advertisements promoting her candidacy noted a history of putting criminals in jail both from the bench and as a prosecutor.

She racked up the highest number of endorsements from state attorneys, sheriffs and police chiefs during the run-up to the election.

At the same time, she hit Shaw for his lack of courtroom experience.

But Shaw tallied a solid number of endorsements from lawmakers and politicians.

Notably, the Police Benevolent Association, which backed Moody and Shaw in their respective primaries, largely stayed out of the general election fight, occasionally defending the honor of candidates but issuing no endorsements.

Moody, 43, outspent Shaw, 40,  $8.8 million to $4.1 million through their campaign accounts and affiliated political committees.

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The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

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