7 reasons why it’s silly to count out Ron DeSantis in the Florida Governor race
A popular guy: Ron DeSantis’ already rosy approval numbers look even rosier in a new poll from the Florida Chamber.

Ron DeSantis 10.8.18 (Large)

Comparing politics to horse racing is common, but unlike sports, where handicappers plunk down cash on the teams they think will win, political pundits can’t and don’t “bet” on whether such-and-such politician will win their election. There is one outlet that casts aside that professional norm. And that outlet is starting to consider playing the middle.

Here are seven reasons why you shouldn’t count out DeSantis.

Donald Trump is strong, maybe at his strongest in some time — This may not move a lot of independent voters, but the fact is President Trump is on a winning streak, at least by the current standards he’s measured by. Beginning with the superficial renegotiation of NAFTA and continuing through the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and an American pastor being freed from imprisonment in Turkey, POTUS is firing on all cylinders. Meanwhile, the national economy is roaring. All of this matters in Florida because much of DeSantis’ candidacy is based on his connection to the White House. So if a Trump-in-full tells his base in the Sunshine State to turn out for DeSantis, they’re probably more inclined to do so than if Trump was mired in a slump. As goes Trump, so goes DeSantis.

The polls have stabilized for DeSantis — There has been relatively little survey work done in Florida over the past two weeks because of Hurricane Michael. The only public poll conducted since the storm struck the Panhandle is one from St. Pete Polls which shows DeSantis within one point of Gillum, while leading by three points among those who say they have already voted. Before Michael’s intrusion on the campaign, three other polls all showed the race essentially tied. The tied race is a marked improvement for DeSantis because most of the post-primary polling, including a Sept. 20-24 Quinnipiac University survey with Gillum leading DeSantis by 9 points, showed the Tallahassee Mayor with an outside-the-margin-of-error lead on his Republican opponent. We hear (but have not seen) that DeSantis’ internal polling has the former congressman up by a couple of points.

The down-ballot polls show little indication of a “Blue Wave” — Nationally, the Democrats may ride a Blue Wave into control of the U.S. House and additional governorships, but here in Florida, the polling shows little specific evidence of this phenomenon. In battleground congressional races in CD 26 and 27, the Republicans are narrowly leading or tied, while in every one of the state Senate seats Democrats are targeting, the Republicans are firmly in the lead (SD 8, SD 22) or tied (SD 18, SD 36). One of the key, but consistently underreported, reasons Republicans win in Florida is the decentralization of their political operations: Rick Scott and DeSantis have their campaigns, but the campaigns of incumbents like Sens. Keith Perry, Dana Young, Jeff Brandes, Manny Diaz, and so many of the House members are, individually, multimillion-dollar operations with massive GOTV efforts that swamp whatever the Democrats do.

Gillum did not receive a hurricane bump — The fear among Republicans was and is that Gillum would perform so well during Hurricane Michael that the gubernatorial race would all but freeze-up while the Mayor emerged from the crisis with haloed poll numbers. So far, that has not occurred. By this weekend, the race should be back at full throttle (Gillum returns to the campaign trail Friday), while the St. Pete Polls survey showed Gillum with only a +13 favorability rating on how he responded to the hurricane (compared to the two-to-one margin Scott received).

DeSantis has all the money in the world — Cue the narrator from ESPN’s “30 for 30” series … What if I told you a candidate for Florida governor raised $8 million in a week … and the political insiders still thought he couldn’t win? Well, that’s how much money DeSantis raised for his campaign and committee during the first week of October. Ten years ago, that would have been enough money for the entire general election campaign of a statewide candidate, but today, after DeSantis posted those numbers, it seemed to barely turn heads. That’s silly. While other Republican candidates throughout the country are struggling to raise coin, DeSantis has more than enough cash to go balls-to-the-wall for the final two-and-a-half weeks of the campaign. That’s part of the reason the campaign is still able to hire top operatives and consultants.

DeSantis has stopped serving the ball into the net — During the first two weeks of the general election, it seemed like DeSantis was going to double-fault his way to defeat with one unforced, racially charged error after another. And while the damage is done from those blunders, he seems to have stopped stepping on his own d*ck. Undoubtedly, this is why he’s no longer sinking in the polls and is able to raise huge sums of money. No one wanted to be next to the guy sending out racist dog whistles. It’s obvious that adding Susie Wiles and Sarah Bascom to the team cut down on the number of self-inflicted wounds.

Republicans are doing what they do during early voting — Statewide, Republicans have returned 247,530 vote-by-mail ballots to 207,171 by Democrats, 96,629 by unaffiliated voters and 3,020 by people registered with third parties. Democratic operatives will tell you that, relative to 2014, they’re in better shape now than then, but I have become highly skeptical of early balloting as a predictor. This week, the Florida Democratic Party released a memo touting a 6-point bump in Democratic returns in Sarasota County as well as smaller boosts in Charlotte and Lee counties. However, Democrats outperformed in the mail vote in Sarasota County in 2016, too, and we all remember how that turned out. For Gillum to win, he has to beat the historical trend that Republicans do better in nonpresidential years. In other words, the Democrats have to create much of the environment found in a presidential year. So far, the early balloting does not indicate that.

Admittedly, I’ve still got my PredictIt money piled behind Andrew Gillum becoming the next Governor of Florida, and most others are betting the chalk, but anyone who thinks betting on DeSantis is a surefire loss could end up looking like Eddie Mush come Election Day.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Jeffrey Sutton

    October 18, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    These guys have been polling neck and neck, elections in Florida are settled by less than 2% and it’s the one moderate state that hasn’t figured out what a bad human Trump is. In other words no one is counting either of the candidates out.

    • De

      October 18, 2018 at 1:47 pm


      Why do LIBERAL DEMOCRATS use TRUMP as the reason behind everything bad or negative.

      I don’t care about our president being PC or play nice with everyone. I voted for someone who actually does what he said he would do! When people voted in 2016 they knew Trump was not a saint. He wasn’t going to a pussy leader like Obama was!! Trump has delivered.

      • Noydb

        October 18, 2018 at 6:32 pm

        Delivered what? A bunch of tweets and golf trips?

        • To

          October 18, 2018 at 10:57 pm

          Evidently you’re blind to the economy, the trade deals, the freed political prisoners, low unemployment…….but you dont care, your busy being a robot.

        • Raul Alvarez

          October 24, 2018 at 12:48 am

          Uh no, job, jobs and more jobs. GDP at 4% for the first time in years and stocks up. No more ISIS. FACT: Obama gave us a 6 $trillion deficit,Disastrous Obamacare and ISIS was at 30,000 and growing.

      • Tuck Frump

        October 18, 2018 at 10:13 pm

        The only thing Two Pump Trump has delivered is his lips wrapped around Putins dick!

        • Ski

          October 19, 2018 at 8:16 am

          The statement was that the economy is great, trade deals are made to benefit Americans, the freeing of political prisoners, low unemployment for everyone. Not to mention the possibility of a nuclear free Korea etc….
          The response to that was to make a sexual insult. Why is it that when liberals don’t have a valid argument, they feel compelled to switch the debate to personal insults. It’s a shame. It makes them look stupid. If any liberals respond to this, it will likely be personal and will have nothing to do with the original statement.

          • Michele Cole

            October 21, 2018 at 12:32 am

            Because they are the criminal party… Dems like mobs while Repubs like jobs. Dems are weak and nothing to fight back with. Voting RED all the way!!

        • Judy

          October 22, 2018 at 1:21 pm

          You got that wrong, buddy. It was Obama who wrapped his lips by doing NOTHING during the Crimea and Ukraine attack by Putin. It was Obama who did NOTHING when China was building their fake island in the South China Sea. It was Obama who did NOTHING while North Korean leader was touting building and shooting off missiles. It was Obama who did NOTHING when Syria used chemical weapons on their citizens. AND it was Obama who did do something with Iran by giving them 150 billion dollars in CASH through sneaky ways AND paid 1.8 billion to get some hostages back, while Iran laughed at us for doing it. You bring up Putin and Trump. WHAT A JOKE! You’re so funny. (NOT)

      • Jennifer

        October 19, 2018 at 11:29 pm

        Yep. Trump has delivered de-regulation resulting in our waters being polluted. He has delivered his moronic policy that climate change is a Chinese hoax as Florida gets pummeled with hurricanes. Florida’s economy is not doing well thanks to trump.

    • Jody McBride

      October 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

      He’s not a bad human he’s a great president!

    • pedro marzoa

      October 20, 2018 at 5:12 am

      bad human trump you are taking shit he may be a little harsh but the truth is he’s done what he said he was going to do I(i suppose you think the Clinton’s are saints) even after all the proof they are crooks of the deep state do your own research and stop watching the news and the vue

  • Jack

    October 18, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    It’s easy to be skeptical of the most recent 10/16 St. Pete polls survey when you look at their internals. They didn’t even attempt to resemble exit poll data of recent state wide elections in terms of demographics. Women outsampled men by 10%; in 2016 that margin was 4%. In 2014( Florida’s last governor election) the margin was only 2%. Also, overall the democrats outsampled republicans by 2%; but in the last three gubernatorial elections dating back to 2006, democrats never outvoted republicans. What makes them sure Ds will outvote Rs this year?

  • Jack

    October 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Another reason not listed is they have yet to have their first debate.

    • Vote DeSantis or Florida is ruined!

      October 19, 2018 at 10:06 am

      Sunday night is the debate. Florida is screwed if Gillum wins!
      Latest news:
      Andrew Gillum wants to rid Florida of Police and Prisons! How bout that? Does that make you feel safe?

        • John

          October 20, 2018 at 7:57 am

          Unfortunately we have a lot of imbeciles that move down here from New York. Unfortunately they continue to vote like idiots.

          • Jennifer

            October 20, 2018 at 2:38 pm

            Because we know that progressive policies can protect the residents of a State from issues like polluted water (that has decimated the Florida economy) or crazy people with guns. You react to these progressive policies in the extreme – as Trump intends. Have your own independent thoughts and do your own research. I do not want open boarders or guns taken away but I certainly do not want children separated from their parents or crazy people able to obtain guns. There, you have heard from a progressive and I bet you and I could find some common ground.

      • Jennifer

        October 19, 2018 at 11:24 pm

        Stop being so crazy and fearful. No one is coming for your guns,no one wants open borders.
        Talk to people that you think might have those views and you will be surprised.

      • Jennifer

        October 19, 2018 at 11:55 pm

        Why do you jump to crazy? I am a progressive and don’t know anyone that wants to take away guns (by the way, taking property is generally illegal). And, unless you truly are crazy, why would you not support reasonable gun control?

        • Mike Collins

          October 20, 2018 at 11:51 am

          Trump has delivered nothing but lie’s and confusion and with these tax breaks he gave the big corp’s this will bankrupt America. I hope you are ready for that because you will be in worse shape than you ever have been, just give it another year if it takes that long,

  • Duck

    October 19, 2018 at 10:01 am

    More of an incentive to donate to $100 do Andrew Gillum

  • Brian Moyer

    October 19, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Ask the 150,000 Vietnam War veterans from the Blue Water Navy and Guam that Ron DeSantis left twisting in the wind! He was MIA when it came time to vote on HR 299 but Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Frederica Wilson all managed to show up and vote! Check the Congressional voting record at Congress.gov! Plus DeSantis said he would cosponsor HR 809 The Foster Act which addresses the use of Agent Orange on Guam during the Vietnam Ware Era and post war years! This commitment from DeSantis was at a townhall meeting in Mt.Dora, Florida on March 11th of 2017 and is on YouTube for all you doubters out there! I have personally spoke with DeSantis on two separate occasions and he has proven to me to be a consummate liar.

  • Jennifer

    October 19, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    A factor you did not consider. In Florida, due to Red Tide / BlueAlgae and Climate Change level hurricanes, the economy is NOT doing well. These are all factors that maybe cannot be pinned on Trump but arguably are a result of his policies. DeSantis is Trump’s understudy.

  • Marty Bender

    October 19, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    In Florida there are 1.6 million registered African American voters of which a whopping 57,000 are Republicans…..current registration is 4.26 million Republicans, 4.549 million Democrats & 3.318 million in all the other parties Personally I give the nod to Gillum just based on the numbers & as an FYI, I gave the nod to Trump over Hillary here in Florida. That call was based on emotion & the turnouts for Candidate-Trump rallies.

    • Brian Moyer

      October 20, 2018 at 12:35 am

      Agreed! DeSantis lost my vote based on integrity.

  • pedro marzoa

    October 20, 2018 at 5:19 am

    this article is garbage gillum is running on the platform of free (medicare)abolish ice(open boarders)repeal stand your ground(run for your life)he is a socialist that will bankrupt the state and turn it into another california socialism doesn’t work it’s been proven over and over again if gillum wins get ready to pay more taxs for the free junk

  • Jeffrey Sutton

    October 20, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    California where property values are through the roof, the budget is in surplus and has a higher GDP than any other state and all but four other countries? You really think Gillum can deliver that kind of growth? Amazing?

  • Jennifer

    October 20, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Florida is a completely under-performing, hidden gem. The State should be totally solar and a leader in organic farming and the waters would clean-up to the crystal blue/green, I remember as a young adult. And with that, businesses would prosper and businesses would relocate here. Stop being so scared of change – change that is good for the people of Florida and our earth. Vote Gillum.

  • Tampa Bay Jane

    October 21, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    I’m going to go out on a limb BEFORE the gubanotorial debate. Ron DeSantis will win the debate and win the election by double digits. NO WAY Floridians will vote for a socialist. Can you say, “NO state income tax???!!!” Gillum would destroy Florida. Double digit win for DeSantis. I’m a woman–hear ME roar!!!

  • Jennifer

    October 21, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I am going to go out on a limb. I am a tax attorney and a woman and you have no idea what you are talking about. Gillum has NEVER proposed a state income tax. Respectfully, please do your research. It is a responsibility of voting.

Comments are closed.


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