Florida voters made a lot of decisions Tuesday night in races up and down the Primary ballot. But more appears on each ballot than mere votes. Reputations are built or squandered as Supervisors count votes each election, and Florida Politics keeps score.
Incumbents were ousted, upsets happened and, like always, there were players who stood out and players who took a nosedive. In our Winners and Losers list, we look at the people behind the scenes making calls that could make or break races.
— Winners —
Team DeSantis — A no-brainer if ever there was one, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign team pulled off what few before had in Florida — a massive victory in a state that just four years ago required a recount to determine who would occupy the Governor’s mansion. The effort was led by Campaign Manager Generra Peck and political director Ryan Tyson, with Heather Barker on fundraising (with a strong assist from Tucker Obenshain), Dave Abrams as a spokesperson and head of communications, and firebrand Christina Pushaw running rapid response (read: master of owning the libs on Twitter.) The team is dynamic, with a combination of young faces hungry to grow and succeed and seasoned veterans who know how to navigate Florida’s unique political terrain. Together, they mounted an unprecedented fundraising operation, nearing $200 million and dwarfing the $31 million Democrat Charlie Crist raised, which would have been plenty to run a solid statewide campaign under normal conditions. And their messaging never wavered, whether through the heart-wrenching and inspiring personal testimonial from First Lady Casey DeSantis, or through Pushaw’s full-throated defenses of the Governor’s sometimes prickly public appearances. The team never lost sight of what would win the day in Florida, sticking to their guns on improving the economy, tying its failures to Joe Biden and Democrats, promising parents the freedom to raise and educate their children and keeping Florida the freest state in the union. Whether this team moves on to DeSantis’ expected presidential aspirations, their work no doubt has set a model for success if not nationwide, certainly in the Sunshine State. Also on the roster: Peter Cuderman, Amanda Robbins, Daniel Leyte Vidal, Claudia Farinas and David Milstein. And there is no other lobbying firm as connected to the administration as Capital City Consulting, including its triumvirate of Nick Iarossi, Ron LaFace and Scott Ross.
James Uthmeier — DeSantis’ Chief of Staff gets his own ‘graph because he’s become the most powerful CoS since … who, Mac the Knife? Throughout the cycle, he was actively involved in recruiting strong conservative candidates, strategically securing endorsements in key races, including late entries into the field. He worked directly with the Governor to develop and carry out one of the most aggressive, conservative agendas the state of Florida has ever witnessed.
Casey DeSantis — Gov. DeSantis’ decisive victory may not have been possible without his most ardent advocate behind him, his wife. The First Lady is not just a supportive spouse behind the scenes; she’s an active participant in her husband’s administration, leading state efforts on mental health and state fundraising efforts for Hurricane Ian relief. Gov. DeSantis’ response to the storm provided a big boost to his campaign in the closing weeks, and the First Lady’s compassionate presence helped score points, while also just being the right thing to do. Casey DeSantis also took a big leap in the final weeks of the campaign, appearing in a pro-DeSantis ad that was a tear-jerker even for critics. In it, she emotionally confronted her battle with breast cancer while portraying Gov. DeSantis as a loyal and dedicated husband and father who would stop at nothing to support his family. Throughout the campaign, even as she was battling her diagnosis, Casey DeSantis showed Floridians that she was First Lady material not just in Florida, but in Washington.
DeSantis 2024 — Winning re-election was key to DeSantis’ unspoken ambitions for the White House. Delivering a double-digit walloping to his Democratic opponent was the icing on the cake and sent a nationwide message that America’s Governor knows how to win. In accomplishing a nearly 20-point victory, DeSantis also solidified Florida as a red state and dispensed with the notion it would be a crucial swing state in 2024. Democrats nationally abandoned Florida this cycle as DeSantis’ victory displayed enough strength to discourage investment in Crist or Senate candidate Val Demings, a ditching that left down-ballot Democrats equally, if not more, vulnerable. If his one and only debate performance dinged any light on a DeSantis 2024 plan, Tuesday’s historic victory restored it.
Team Moody — This was another race where the outcome was never in doubt. It helped that the opponent raised little and was nearly invisible on the trail, but Ashley Moody’s team had plans in place to squash Aramis Ayala even if she got scrappy. Moody provided plenty of fodder for comms director Christina Johnson to make a positive case for re-election, such as Moody’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and human trafficking. The finance team of Erica Ulmer, Sam Blair and Debbie Aleksander ensured there was plenty of money to amplify that message, while Campaign Manager Meagan Moser and consultants Marc Reichelderfer and Tom Piccolo helped craft the winning strategy. Katie Householder also played an integral role in communications and political strategy. The end result: Moody won by 21.2 points — the largest margin of any statewide candidate on the ballot Tuesday.
Team Patronis — It was a low-key race for CFO, but that’s largely due to Jimmy Patronis’ re-election campaign launching with an insurmountable advantage. Paige Davis Primrose and Natalie Alexander of MaxOut Consulting deserve credit for their fundraising efforts — Patronis’ campaign and committee accounts were so loaded, it likely scared off potential challengers and major donors. When Election Day arrived, Campaign Manager Caleb Spencer and Political Director Chase Brannon were ready to ride the wave at the top of the ticket and lead Patronis to a double-digit win four years after he won election by 3.4 percentage points. They had a solid playbook to work from thanks to general consultants Melissa Stone and Sierra Kostick of Cavalry Strategies.
Team Simpson — Simpson walked off Tuesday night with an easy win over his Democratic challenger, buoyed in large part by his strong name recognition as Senate President and his longtime reputation as a collegial lawmaker. With his decisive victory, Simpson will now helm the state’s second-largest industry and take back a statewide position that, for the last four years, was the only one to be held by a Democrat. While the victory is his, he didn’t get there in a silo. Pat Bainter, Tim Baker, Justin Grabelle and the rest of the Data Targeting Team provided a solid base for a winning campaign, while Erin Isaac led communications for the Simpson machine. Kris Money and Isabelle Garbarino led finance efforts, which fueled Simpson’s coffers to fund a sweeping election strategy and voter outreach. And of course, there’s Simpson’s Campaign Manager, Bret Prater, a veteran consultant who previously served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Neal Dunn.
Team FRSCC — The Florida Senate campaign arm raised more than $46 million since early 2021 to fund a massive statewide operation electing GOP candidates to the state’s upper chamber, in an effort that touched every part of the state and built off 2020 momentum that saw efforts in districts once ceded to Democrats. The result has been increased representation in the Senate and a campaign strategy that benefits not just the Senate chamber, but ancillary races up and down the ballot. Led by Senate President-designate Kathleen Passidomo, the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee built a strong foundation for Republican candidates to rely on this cycle, including a team of dogged operatives providing necessary foot soldiers in the fight to solidify Florida as a red state: Bainter and the Data Targeting team; Executive Director Joel Springer; Political Director McNally Merlini; Communications Director Erin Isaac; the finance team of Money, Trey McCarley, Kelly Lindo and Lexey Mowat; political operatives Rich Heffley, Rich Johnston and Bryan Nelson; and those taking the group’s message to TV, Ryan Houck and the Consensus Communications team.
House Victory — The sea walls crumbled in the once deep-blue South Florida, Tampa Bay is basically GOP country, and Central Florida is looking a lot less purple — more of a boysenberry or magenta, really. After a banner night, incoming Speaker Paul Renner will be working with a supermajority. Republicans were poised to do well, but it helps to have the political equivalent of the ’01 Hurricanes on staff. Frank Terraferma QB’d as Director, with Andres Malave on comms alongside Christina Johnson in the adviser slot. Wise man David Johnson is also a long-time Renner adviser. Meanwhile, Katie Ballard raised more cash than the average D1 school’s booster program (and doing it all while raising daughters and another little girl coming soon). Finally, Marc Reichelderfer once again proved once again that he’s the Frank Lloyd Wright of consulting … fine, we’ll say it one more time: “Marchitect.”
Marc Reichelderfer — See above. … OK, now that you’ve read about his role in Moody’s re-election campaign and you can read below about Corey Simon’s historic victory in SD 3, we have a wheelbarrow full of other trophies to add to his case. The Marchitect was a key ingredient in RPOF’s House campaign machine, which secured a supermajority for incoming House Speaker Renner. Reichelderfer was on the ground for Rep. Jim Mooney, who won a brutal Primary before being re-elected in a rout. Others in his state House portfolio include Reps. Sam Garrison and Fred Hawkins, alongside several others who were re-elected without opposition — something that doesn’t happen by accident. And in Congress, his clientele included U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn and Scott Franklin as well as U.S. Reps.-elect Aaron Bean and Laurel Lee, all four of whom popped the cork before the first commercial break in Wheel of Fortune.
Americans for Prosperity Action-Florida — AFP is celebrating a whopping 37 out of 39 wins in the Primary and General Elections, victories by candidates who are committed to fighting against barriers to Floridians’ individual success. Through laser-focused grassroots strategy, AFP Action-FL effectively contributed to these successes in Florida Tuesday night. Among AFP Action-FL’s noteworthy achievements was its success in reaching hundreds of thousands of voters through door-knocking, phone calls, mailers, and digital ads. The grassroots advocacy organization is congratulating the victors who will now serve in the Florida Legislature and looks forward to working with them on real solutions to the state’s most pressing needs.
Tim Baker — Tuesday was another big win for Baker, who over almost a decade in Northeast Florida has seen a lot of them. This one was special, however, as his wife, Jessica, successfully routed an underfunded Democrat, sealing her path to the House. Another big win for Baker and allies: The election of T.K. Waters to the Sheriff’s office, a 10-point win that saw the candidate do almost as well countywide as statewide candidates on the ballot. This sets up well for 2023’s city elections in Jacksonville, where Baker is guiding the campaign of Daniel Davis for Mayor.
Ballard Partners — No Florida lobbying firm is as close to Vern Buchanan, the front-runner to be Ways & Means Chair in a Republican House, as Brian Ballard’s firm. If you thought they made money under Donald Trump, wait until you see what they do with a connection to the most powerful committee in Congress.
Bascom Communications & Consulting — Led by Sarah Bascom, Lyndsey Brzozowski and Kelsey Swithers, Bascom Communications went all-in early for Bean and Lee before they even knew who they’d face in the Primary Election. The firm’s early bets paid off, with victories not only in their respective Primaries but in the General Election as well. The dynamic team at Bascom continues to rack up wins in statewide, legislative and congressional races by taking big swings and delivering for clients. Their efforts this year helped deliver major GOP victories that helped the Republican Party to what is a likely retaking of the U.S. House and set the tone for other national races.
James Blair — Joining the Winners’ column for the fourth election cycle in a row, this year Blair gets credit for high-profile GOP flips in CD 7 and CD 13 with Cory Mills and Anna Paulina Luna after winning big bruising Primaries in both. His firm also piloted the efforts of several incoming state House and Senate members. And since this is a website about Florida politics, we’ll just ignore what happened in Michigan. Plus, he’s married to …
Samantha Blair — Blair, a fundraising powerhouse, raised big money for U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Laurel Lee, both of whom scored big wins Tuesday night in their respective congressional races. She also was behind independent expenditure efforts supporting Luna in her successful bid for Florida’s 13th Congressional District and several state level candidates and efforts. Blair is a longtime key player for Attorney General Moody, helping her raise record-breaking amounts since 2017. If that’s not enough, she also worked out of state raising funds for Mary Miller’s overwhelmingly successful congressional bid in Illinois. With 2024 on the horizon, Blair is likely to be on every candidate’s shortlist.
Team Brodeur — Sen. Jason Brodeur was successful in fending off a targeted challenge from Joy Goff-Marcil, who was one of just two candidates this cycle to enjoy major support from the Democrats’ Senate campaign arm, Senate Victory, to unseat incumbent Republicans. He also overcame the shadow of the 2020 election, which saw Brodeur face criticism for his election amid a campaign scandal that included a ghost candidate. Nevertheless, Brodeur and his team endured, thanks in large part to a veteran group of staffers who worked doggedly to hone messaging, raise big and ensure voters were turning out. That includes Campaign Manager Zack Brodersen, Brodeur’s former legislative aide; Campaign Staffing’s Robbie Vogan, who directed the campaign’s ground game; Erin Isaac, who managed communications; Supernova Digital’s Zach Monahan, who ran digital productions; fundraising pro Sandy Taylor; consultant Jim Rimes; Consensus Communications Ryan Houck, who ran the campaign’s TV presence; and Election Management Solutions’ Drew Hefley and Zack Colletti on phone banking and texting campaigns.
Josh Cooper — His research helped the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee earn a supermajority with a seat to spare while also providing an assist to numerous state House campaigns, incoming U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean and the re-election campaigns for CFO Patronis and Attorney General Moody, once again proving that cooking BBQ isn’t his only “next level” skill.
Corcoran Partners — Few firms participate in the campaign process at the level Mike & Jessie Corcoran and the entire CP team have the past two decades. This election cycle was no different. Their early and often support, and that of their clients — from Gov. DeSantis, Sen. Marco Rubio, Patronis, Wilton Simpson and Moody to Bean and Luna to dozens of state Senators and Representatives — demonstrate why they are one of the top firms in the state and are positioned well for years to come. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear about further expansion from CP in the near future.
Consensus Communications — Undefeated. We shouldn’t have to say any more than that, but we will. Ryan Houck, Dan Cunningham and the Consensus ad-making team worked with 30 campaigns on the ballot in Florida this General Election, producing more than 100 ads across TV, radio and digital. Their creative must have struck a chord with voters because the scoreboard says 30-0. Their biggest win of the night was Simon in Senate District 3 — their ad campaigns inundated the airwaves there, spreading a positive and hopeful message about the football legend’s upbringing and path to success. A close second was House District 37, where Republican Susan Plasencia upset CGS. Consensus also operates in other states, working a total of 58 campaigns this cycle, including the winners of some key races in North Carolina and Maryland. With their 2022 record, the out-of-state portfolio is bound to grow.
Ben Diamond — Diamond dropped from the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District after it became clear the district would favor the GOP. It was a smart move and let him avoid a drubbing. With the Midterm now in the rearview for the district and 2024 on the horizon, Diamond should now be national Democrats’ top recruit to win the district back in a presidential year, when higher turnout and better Democratic participation could yield better success.
The Dali Museum — St. Pete voters approved a referendum to provide a 99-year lease to the museum so that it may move forward with a $55 million expansion, which will add 60,000 square feet to the iconic downtown waterfront museum for a gallery, educational and community space. The project is a win for St. Pete as it will further attract visitors to the museum and nearby businesses, and provide a valuable educational resource for younger residents.
Team DiCeglie — Rep. Nick DiCeglie’s future in the Senate was never a pipe dream, and in many ways, it seemed a foregone conclusion that he would succeed Jeff Brandes (who endorsed DiCeglie as his successor). The newly drawn district favors the GOP by about 4 percentage points over Democrats. Still, there was no backing down from the fight, and it showed with DiCeglie’s decisive victory Tuesday night. Team DiCeglie included some might, with Ashley Wilson managing the campaign; Robbie Vogan of Campaign Staffing running the campaign’s ground game; Erin Isaac on comms; Zach Monahan on digital; fundraising guru Rick Porter fueling the campaign’s coffers; Ryan Houck on television buys and Drew Heffley and Zack Colletti on phone banking and text campaigns.
Brett Doster — What a difference four years makes. Last Midterm Election, Doster earned a spot in the “mixed bag” section, but in 2022 he’s a full-fledged winner. His marquee win came in HD 113, where Republican Vicki Lopez narrowly defeated lawyer A.J. D’Amico in a seat that went plus-12 for Biden in the last cycle. It’s the second Miami-Dade seat in as many cycles that Frontline flipped, with the other being Tom Fabricio’s win in 2020. Doster recorded nearly a dozen wins in all last night, with the others being Doug Broxson in SD 1, Jay Trumbull in SD 2, Dennis Baxley in SD 13, Griff Griffitts in HD 6, Kiyan Michael in HD 16, Robbie Brackett in HD 34, Carolina Amesty in HD 45, Tommy Gregory in HD 72, Toby Overdorf in HD 85 and Tracey Zudans for Vero Beach City Council.
John Dowless — The biggest news out of Central Florida on Election Night was Susan Plasencia’s win over Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith in HD 37. The district demographics were working against her and compared to the incumbent, she was on a shoestring budget. But Dowless was her secret weapon. He helped her run a campaign that muted Smith’s lead in reliably blue Orange County by getting voters to turn out in force in Seminole County. The state Senate battlegrounds may be the biggest state legislative wins for the GOP this cycle, but HD 37 was a seat that was not supposed to be competitive and probably wouldn’t have been if not for Dowless’ effort.
Downtown Clearwater — The City of Clearwater officially has the green light to move forward with negotiations and a contract with developers to build a sweeping mixed-use development on the city’s pristine waterfront after voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum with more than 66% of the vote. The project will add hundreds of new hotel rooms, green space, restaurants and shopping, and it will seamlessly coordinate with the Imagine Clearwater plan.
Gary Farmer — Avoided being part of the losing Senate Democratic caucus and instead ran for and won a seat on the bench.
Ryan Fernandez — Fernandez provided meaningful consulting services on several races in Miami-Dade County and was part of the push to flip the longtime Democratic stronghold red this cycle. He represented Juan Porras’ in his victory in House District 119, keeping that district in GOP hands. There, the Gen Z GOP operative-turned-business-owner and candidate enjoyed an early advantage, dominating the Republican Primary and going on to significantly outraise and outperform his Democratic opponent. Fernandez’s star shone particularly brightly in his work for Alexis Calatayud, the first-time candidate who scored a 9-point victory over Janelle Perez, another first-time candidate. While Calatayud faced a disadvantage in the race, Fernandez managed to draw significant attention to the race with more than $625,000 raised and $200,000 in support from the FRSCC. The victory shows just how strong the GOP threat is in Miami-Dade County now and into the future, and Fernandez played a role in shaping that transformation.
The Fiorentino Group — There are bigger, shinier lobbying firms in Florida, but none of them are based out of northeast Florida where two of the next three Florida House Speakers hail from. This should be Marty and Co.’s time.
Florida Chamber of Commerce — President and CEO Mark Wilson and his team proved their endorsements can scale. A couple of months after 37 out of 40 Chamber-backed candidates won in the Primary, the pro-business group is celebrating a 113-2 record on General Election endorsements. The Chamber doesn’t just make a pick and back off — once they get behind a candidate, they back their endorsement up with millions of dollars in campaign support and their arsenal of data tools. They also work hard to ensure that candidates they want to endorse make the ballot through an extensive candidate recruitment infrastructure. The Florida Chamber wants the Sunshine State to become a top-10 economy in the world by 2030, and they have helped place allies in the Legislature, Governor’s Mansion and Cabinet that can help them make that happen.
Florida Realtors — Realtors insist on tacking an ® after their name. Hopefully, they can settle for (R) because heading into the 2023 Legislative Session, seven GOP Realtors or Realtor affiliates will be serving in the House and five others — including incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo — will be in the Senate. With housing issues top of mind in many Florida metros, these allies will provide invaluable input on policy that can help Floridians without pinching the housing market.
Maxwell Frost and Jared Moskowitz — Meet the new faces of the Democratic Party. Probably. With so many Democrats falling to the years-in-the-making red shift in Florida, new players are likely to be the struggling party’s new leaders. Moskowitz has done what few, well any really, Democrats in Florida have managed to do — he earned the respect and ear of the state’s Republican Governor and served in his administration. Now he will serve in Congress, taking with him the crash course he received on working across the aisle in what will likely be the Republicans’ House. Frost, meanwhile, will serve as the first Gen Z Congressman, offering a fresh face to a Democratic Party all too often seen as the party of old White men. The political upstart has already shown he has the chops to succeed in the volatile political process, besting two former members of Congress and a sitting state Senator in the Primary for the chance to succeed Demings in his new Orlando district.
Gainesville/Alachua County residents — Voters approved a referendum passing a half-penny sales tax to fund new parks, land conservation, water quality, renovate fire stations and make life a little easier in the county that has become an ecotourism hot spot. Also, despite all commissioners voting against the idea, the people of Alachua County decided what was best for them by passing single-member commission districts from here forward.
Jeff Garcia — Miami-Dade went red Tuesday, but Garcia still notched two wins for Democrats. He helmed the successful push for a School Board referendum to raise teacher pay to the national average of $66,000 by raising property taxes for homeowners 33% to 1 mil. The measure passed 65-35%. The veteran consultant also helped score a victory for former Democratic Rep. Javier Fernández, now the next Mayor of South Miami. Fernández’s after-party was an oasis in the desert for some 400 otherwise dejected Democrats, Garcia said, “because it was the only place you could go and not cry.”
René García and Anthony Rodriguez — While their party will still be in the minority on the Miami-Dade County Commission, García and Rodriguez will bring a strong collective conservative voice to the Commission, with Tallahassee relationships that will provide a meaningful bridge between state and local government. García, as chair of the County GOP, and Rodriguez with a position in Speaker-designate Daniel Perez’s inner circle, may find some star power to give them a boost as Miami-Dade continues making a shift to a more GOP-friendly locale.
Sam Garrison — Yes, he was on the ballot. But we’re not breaking our own rules here — this has nothing to do with the future House Speaker steamrolling whatever tomato can he faced Tuesday. Instead, he’s getting a shoutout for his efforts to defeat a Clay County referendum that would have struck term limits from the county charter. It went down in flames, with nearly 80% of county voters rejecting it.
Ben Gibson — Gibson played a major role in this Midterm cycle’s sweeping GOP successes, representing the Republican Party of Florida and advising the DeSantis re-election campaign on legal matters. Gibson, a Tallahassee partner in the law firm Shutts & Bowen, provides legal expertise to a broad sector of political interests and has extensive experience shaping Florida politics. Since 2018, he has been influential in creating a strong election integrity network of volunteer lawyers and poll watchers. In 2021, DeSantis appointed him to Florida’s seven-member State Board of Education. He also served on Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission and has been chief counsel to RPOF for the past three election cycles.
Max Goodman — The political consultant helped Buchanan secure a ninth term, defeating primary opponent Martin Hyde before Democrat Jan Schneider. But in many ways the real campaign starts now. Buchanan raised money for candidates who won across the country, including four Republicans who picked up Florida seats. All that helps on Buchanan’s quest to become Ways & Means Chair in a GOP-led House, and Goodman is already counting steering committee votes. On top of that, Goodman helped Rep. Fiona McFarland win re-election and ran creative on a successful campaign to renew Sarasota County’s sales tax. Max pivoted and sent this referendum to victory in a very red county with a win margin unmatched in the state,” said Argus Foundation executive director Christine Robinson.
David Johnson — Johnson was GC for Congressman-elect Ted Lasso Bean, and directed Super PACS supporting federal winners Laurel Lee, Maria Elvira Salazar, Brian Mast, Carlos Gimenez, Neal Dunn and Scott Franklin. DJ has been a part of the Paul Renner team for several cycles and was proud to have held a consulting role in the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee’s 85-seat winning night. DJ rounded out the cycle helping win some county ballot referendums and assisting in outside efforts in nine victorious school board campaigns.
Eric Johnson — While other Democratic consultants were drowning last night in the red wave that hit the Sunshine State, Johnson kept his head above water, representing winning Democrats that included Hillary Cassel, Moskowitz, Lori Berman, Tina Polsky, Harry Cohen and Kelly Skidmore. He worked in ancillary roles for a couple of Dems on the losing side, but overall, Johnson survived a beating others suffered. To add to his success, the district in which Moskowitz won, also went the opposite direction for Gov. DeSantis.
Brendan Olsen — For all of the wins Eric Johnson enjoyed, Olsen was right there with him for most. So, he deserves a shout out, too.
Kids in Charlotte, Miami-Dade, Brevard, Nassau and Flagler counties — School funding referendums earned a passing grade in each of these counties, and the big winners here are the kids. In Charlotte, voters agreed to bump property taxes to pay for behavior specialists, psychologists, deans, social workers and security monitors as well as provide funding for STEM, art and theater programs. Brevard, Miami-Dade and Nassau voters approved a millage bump for teacher pay and additional state. And voters in Flagler approved half-penny sales tax proposals that will cover costs for multiple school projects. St. Johns County deserves some extra credit for creating the mold.
William Large — If Large, the president of the Florida Justice Reform Institute, can’t get an ambitious ‘tort reform’ package passed by this Legislature, he never will.
Team Laurel Lee — This entry could have been written after the Primary because Lee’s team led her to an easy 14-point win in the five-way Republican Primary for CD 15. It’s less surprising when you see her roster — Sarah Bascom, Lyndsey Brzozowski and Kelsey Deasy of Bascom Communications handed messaging and Audie Canney and Kevin Reilly brought in the cash … and her consultant was some guy named Marc R … wait, how do you pronounce that name? Just kidding, Marchitect. After the Primary win, though, they made the General look even easier — and this was a head-to-head against Alan Cohn, who has run for Congress before and managed to get far more than the 41% he was held to Tuesday.
Miami-Dade teachers — In spite of a Republican campaign against the referendum for teacher pay and school safety, it passed overwhelmingly. UTD led the charge and got the job done.
Terry Miller — There’s a reason he’s called the “Kingmaker of Southwest Florida,” and after Tuesday’s results, Miller can retain the title. Coming off undefeated victories in the Primary, Miller won 11 of 14 races he worked on in the General. While the three L’s were in smaller races, his wins include Sen. Jonathan Martin, Rep. Tiffany Esposito, a Mayor, a handful of County Commission and hotly-contested School Board races, and perhaps one of the biggest game changers for Southwest Florida: a referendum for an elected Superintendent of Lee County Schools.
Miranda Advocacy, LLC — The better question to ask is, “Which South Florida Republicans didn’t the political consulting team of Alex Miranda and Ryan Fernandez help secure a victory this election cycle?” Among the winners Tuesday who enjoyed the Miami firm’s services: U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez, Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, Sen. Bryan Ávila, Miami-Dade Commissioner-elect Kevin Marino Cabrera and first-time candidates Alexis Calatayud and Juan Carlos Porras, who captured open seats in the Senate and House, respectively. All won by comfortable margins. Miranda also led a mail campaign to successfully pass a Miami-Dade School Board referendum boosting school security and teacher pay. “We ran some pretty high-profile races and won pretty convincingly,” Miranda said. “This was really the year where it all came together.”
Moms for Liberty — The conservative education reform group that fights against critical race theory and is overwhelmingly supportive of Gov. DeSantis saw victories up and down the state, in School Board races in which they were involved. That includes wins in Pinellas County with the election of second-time candidate Stephanie Meyer and Dawn Peters; Pasco County with Al Hernandez; Manatee County with Cindy Spray; Indian River County with Jacqueline Rosario; Volusia County with Jamie Haynes; Lee County with Sam Fisher; Hendry County with Stephanie Busin; and Brevard County with Gene Trent. The group’s activism is reshaping public education with priorities on banning critical race theory, empowering parents and removing or reforming lessons or policies often viewed as pro-LGBTQ.
Alexander Pantinakis — Pantinakis served as a top strategist for Jacksonville Sheriff candidate-(elect) T.K. Waters and played a key role in grabbing a countywide seat for the GOP in what has been, in recent years, a trending blue county. With Pantinakis’ help, Waters managed to overcome a tough race against Lakesha Burton, a Democrat who held markedly different views on law enforcement oversight than her GOP opponent. But beyond that, Pantinakis can be credited as one of several architects of the GOP’s strategy to reclaim Duval County, having served as a strategist for Duval County GOP Chair and state Rep. Dean Black.
Peret Pass — Representing clients in Northeast Florida where GOP candidates enjoyed wide success this cycle, Pass showed her prowess early, representing candidates in competitive Primaries, if not competitive General Election battles. That includes Bean’s walk-off performance in the GOP Primary for Florida’s 4th Congressional District, where he scored more than 68% of the vote against Erick Aguilar. But Pass’ most significant impact might have been found in her ability to bring the race home with national figures appearing in the Jacksonville area, gets that may not have been necessary for Bean, but that raised momentum for GOP candidates at the top of the ticket.
Paige Primrose — Primrose served as a crucial fundraising consultant for two GOP campaigns this cycle, Chief Financial Officer Patronis and Bean. Both significantly outraised their opponents. Patronis netted $1.7 million for his campaign, dwarfing Democratic rival Adam Hattersley’s $357,000. It’s hard to lose with that kind of cash advantage, and Primrose made it happen.
Palm Beach Republicans — Incumbent Mike Caruso dominated in a new district, and Republican Peggy Gossett-Seidman won the House District 91 race in the blue-leaning territory. Even more shocking, Republicans scored two absolutely stunning upsets in Palm Beach County Commission races. Marci Woodward ousted Mayor Robert Weinroth, and Republican candidate Sara Baxter beat the much better-funded Michelle Oyola McGovern to take the open District 6 seat.
Pinellas GOP — Todd Jennings and Adam Ross deserve major kudos for their performance in Pinellas County, where the party saw a congressional seat and a County Commission seat flip red and were able to secure seats in the Legislature that may have been in peril. The Pinellas GOP apparatus has been eyeing Pat Gerard’s seat on the County Commission since before she was even elected but fell short in recent attempts to put the seat back into Republican hands. Brian Scott’s victory ensures a loyal GOP vote and gives the GOP a majority.
Protect Our Future — The Super PAC bankrolled by crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried endorsed and supported about two dozen candidates nationwide, including Democrats Moskowitz and Frost in Florida. Frost’s win in CD 10 was assured after the Primary, but his status as the first Gen Z member of Congress was one of few silver linings for Democrats Tuesday. Meanwhile, Moskowitz was thought to be a lock in CD 23 but the race tightened significantly in the closing weeks, underscoring the importance of the PAC’s funding and support. Better yet, they left the finer details to the people who know the district best, funneling their CD 23 contribs through the Ashley Walker-led PAC Moving Broward Forward. The result was a closer-than-expected — but still comfortable — win for the Master of Disaster on an otherwise disastrous night for Florida Dems.
Jared Rosenstein — Big Tuesday night for Moskowitz’s money man: Both of his former bosses (DeSantis & Moskowitz) came out on top; a rare bipartisan successful election night for Capital City Consulting’s new recruit.
Will Shedden — It’s unclear whether Dems will pick up the pieces or burn it all down and start fresh. Whatever they decide, they’d be smart to include this up-and-comer. As Campaign Manager for Lindsay Cross, he ran one of the few successful Democratic state legislative campaigns that weren’t decided at redistricting … and we say “few” despite not being able to name three. Jabs aside, Cross was not a lock. She faced a credible challenger in Audrey Henson, who went toe-to-toe with her in fundraising. Sure, his candidate was running in a Biden plus-10 district, but Dems could fill a graveyard with campaigns that lost Tuesday with the same or larger advantage.
Ryan Smith — Smith batted 1.000 in the General Election. Sens. Blaise Ingoglia and Jonathan Martin were both DeSantis endorsed. Smith’s pro-Luna super PAC helped blunt Democrat attacks in the competitive FL CD 13 general election. He also shepherded Randy Maggard and newcomer Jeff Holcomb to strong wins in Pasco County. He also got strong conservatives Amy Lockhart and Tom Goodson elected in Central Florida County Commission races.
SIMS Wins — A night full of GOP wins means plenty of bragging rights for Tom Piccolo and INFLUENCE cover model Anthony Pedicini. The team won critical legislative races like state Rep. Fred Hawkins’ re-election in east Orlando. They also won less watched contests, like defeating Reggie Bellamy in Manatee County to make that commission 100% Pedicini clients. Mailboxes brimmed this year with fliers produced by this Tampa political shop, and while that may have left Democrats seeing red, it also prompted an electorate to vote red. A big chunk of lawmakers in those legislative GOP super-majorities got there by hiring SimWins.
School Choice — Note to future candidates: School choice supporters win elections. That’s mostly because, by and large, Florida parents buy into the message that it gives their kids the best opportunity to receive a quality education. But it’s also because groups such as the Florida Federation for Children will go all-out to get them elected. The Federation’s PAC supported about three dozen state legislative candidates this cycle. Most of them were expected to win in landslides, but two of them — Simon and Collins — won pivotal state Senate races, delivering a supermajority to school choice-friendly Senate Republicans.
Team Corey Simon — Like Simon was the backbone of Florida State’s defense in 1999, Team Simon and the Republican line were the backbones that helped the new Senator complete the turnover against Sen. Loranne Ausley. Turning Senate District 3 red is yet another major win for the Marchitect. But Reichelderfer isn’t the only name to repeat on this all-star list. Bainter and the team at Data Targeting helped close this deal, as did Isaac Communications, fundraiser Taylor, and Houck and the TV wizards at Consensus. And while it may not have been the first campaign for campaign manager Cooper Harrison, it certainly was his breakout race. Darryl Boyer and Alex Haley also made the roster, as did Lamonte Moye, who was critical to the team’s Tally ground game.
The Southern Group — While TSG could be listed as winners solely for its ability to cover the field — at the local and state levels — it’s really the firm’s ability to build genuine relationships with the people they lobby. Is there a firm closer to incoming legislative leaders Kathleen Passidomo and Paul Renner? Southern was on board early with both — building relationships with them and their teams and supporting them at the highest level. Look for their clients to have a front row seat for the next couple of years.
Smart staffers — We want to give this cohort more than a name-drop, but we’re sure each of them will get an entry in many future W&L lists. Without further ado, here are some staffers whose resumes will get a boost this cycle: Sydney Fowler, the campaign manager for Danny Alvarez’s winning campaign in HD 57; Landon Hoffman, who helped U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn run up the score against a fellow delegation member in CD 2; Eli Menton, whose work at House Majority helped the GOP close on a supermajority; and Skylar Alexander, who managed Rep. Linda Chaney’s successful defense in HD 61.
Kevin Sweeny — If you’re involved in political campaigns in Florida, and you don’t know the name Kevin Sweeny, you haven’t been paying attention. Never outworked, there isn’t a part of this state that Sweeny and his team haven’t found success. His strategy is simple — they listen to voters instead of waiting for their turn to talk, and then use the insights gained to craft messaging that truly resonates. This cycle, Sweeny’s team worked up and down the ballot with a portfolio that included state legislative races, referendums, local races, and plenty of Ws.
Spectrum — Turns out, not all that surprisingly, that contentious elections are good for ratings. Spectrum News’ Decision 2022 Election Night coverage saw a 120% increase over the previous 30-day average in household viewership in the 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. time slot in its 12 markets — Austin, Charlotte, Greensboro, New York City, Orlando, Raleigh, San Antonio, Tampa, Cleveland, Columbus, Los Angeles and Dallas. That increase was nearly double the increase the cable outlet saw in 2020. In Tampa, numbers were even better, with a 202% household viewership increase during the same time slot.
— Mixed bag —
Alex Berrios — If you walked into an Ohio diner in the past month, 90% of patrons could have told you Hispanic voters were ditching Florida Democrats, but Alex Berrios and Devon Murphy-Anderson deserve some credit for ringing the alarm bells more than a year ago. It’s a pity that Dems had already put their earplugs in. That said, Berrios didn’t help matters by founding an organization that blindly registered Hispanic voters in Central and South Florida while they were on the way out the door.
Fentrice Driskell — She is the fifth House Democrat to have the title of Leader or Leader-designate in the last two years. She took over a program that she did not start, raised record money for House Democrats, and is building a system for the future. She’s widely respected in the Process and is a rare bright spot in the current dark days of Florida Democrats.
Nikki Fried — Losing the Primary saved Fried from what would’ve been a big loss to DeSantis. She is now the most popular player on the football team — the backup QB. Charlie Crist just threw seven interceptions and fumbled the ball six times. She was the alternative. The alternative always looks good when the starter keeps fumbling.
Phillip Jerez — Jerez, who was former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s deputy political director during his near-miss bid four years ago, served as Crist’s political director in the Primary Election, which successfully dispatched Agriculture Commissioner Fried. Jerez deserves a nod for his leading efforts to nab every relevant endorsement in that race. As he stayed on for the General, Jerez successfully kept the campaign staff onboard, even as Crist’s campaign looked in serious peril, with not a single staffer (save for the unfortunate departure of Crist’s campaign manager, Austin Durrer, who resigned amid a domestic violence incident) jumping ship. After Durrer’s departure, Jerez guided the campaign through its final leg with a steady hand. Jerez has an extensive resume, with leadership roles in Progress for Florida and the Coalition for Black and Brown Ballot Access, and clearly continues to be a rising star in Florida Politics. Shoutout to Sydney Throop, who took over as campaign manager after a very difficult situation developed within the Crist campaign.
Jason Pizzo — Yeah, his Senate Democratic colleagues lost across the board on Tuesday, but at least the South Florida lawmaker tried to stop it from happening, putting his own money where his mouth is. If Florida Democrats have any path back to relevance in state politics, Pizzo will be leading them.
Steve Schale — He sat this cycle out, but the coalitions he put together during the Barack Obama years when Florida was still deep purple seem to be light-years away. Maybe this makes him a winner?
Drew Shannon — The House Victory Caucus Director is seeing red, literally and figuratively, after last night’s red tsunami. The sweeping losses would ordinarily put him in the loser category, but Shannon deserves an “A” for effort given the challenges he faced coming into this fight. House Victory’s previous caucus director left abruptly in October 2021, leaving the caucus high and dry just one month before the election year. Enter Shannon. He came into a caucus with no infrastructure and immediately got to work to build a legitimate program despite a lack of partner assistance, a major redistricting barrier, and a volatile leadership transition. Still he was able to recruit and train candidates in six top-priority state House seats. While he suffered major losses (not counting the victorious Lindsay Cross), all of the top-priority candidates overperformed the top of the ticket, something that usually happens in reverse.
St. Pete residents — St. Pete voters approved an Amendment changing the municipal election cycle to align with Presidential and Midterm Elections. The result will likely mean better voter turnout in races for City Council and Mayor, but in the short term, it has major implications for sitting elected officials. It will give Mayor Ken Welch, who many insiders are frustrated with, an extra year in his first term. Members of the City Council up for re-election in the next cycle will also get a fifth year in their otherwise four-year term.
— Losers —
The Karla Hernández pick — We get the strategy. Democrats needed to stop bleeding Hispanic voters, particularly in South Florida. Hernández *should have* checked both boxes. Plus, she was a woman, another check and a teacher, double-check. But. Holy. Cow. It was obvious just how wrong she was for the pick when she decided it was a good idea to compare a “dysfunctional” Legislature to special needs kids, enraging not only conservatives but special needs advocates and loved ones. Beyond that, Hernandez brought very little to the table. She didn’t have name recognition to help carry South Florida, or anywhere. She didn’t have the experience to bring value to the campaign trail. And her attempts to appear fun and relatable (dancing to the polls) just fell flat.
Manny Diaz — If Diaz survives in his role as head of the Florida Democratic Party, it’ll be pretty akin to turning water into wine. Florida Dems knew, even if they wouldn’t directly say it, that they were in trouble this cycle. But the red wave many predicted was an all-out red tsunami, drowning the state in GOP victories even in deep blue counties and districts. Thanks to his failed leadership this cycle, Democrats will not only have a mountain to claw back, but they’ll also have a funding deficit to make the climb that much harder, as national interests have now completely written Florida off as a lost cause.
Rick Scott — Scott wasn’t on the ballot this year, but he kind of was … in every state in the nation. As Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the GOP’s campaign arm for U.S. Senate races. Votes are still being counted, but it’s clear the red wave Democrats feared and Republicans predicted didn’t come. In Pennsylvania, the GOP missed a pickup opportunity after celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz fell to Democrat John Fetterman, who looked an easy target after health issues caused a floundering debate performance. In Georgia, Herschel Walker, who Scott vehemently defended despite mounting allegations of domestic abuse and funded abortions, is headed to a runoff against incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock, in a race that Warnock currently leads (albeit narrowly) and that will likely determine which party controls the Senate.
Susie Wiles — Pundits are piling up to blame Trump for the GOP’s underperformance in U.S. Senate races (see Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Georgia, among others), attributing losses to propping up weak candidates. But behind the curtain is Wiles, a top Trump adviser who was behind many of his endorsements this cycle. Insiders worry that if this trend continues, it will weaken the GOP’s chances to make needed gains in the never-ending fight for power and relevance in Washington.
Christian Ulvert, Senate Victory — When the consultant came on with Senate Victory, he was supposed to usher in an era of aggressive fights for frontline seats. Today, battlegrounds look like ruins, with Democrats’ Senate arm going six-for-six in swing seats. Sure, the national mood was rough — ignoring Democrats overperformed virtually everywhere but Florida. Victory seemed on the right foot when the committee announced record fundraising in January, but quickly saw resources squandered defending the Democratic Leader’s seat in a PRIMARY. Then offensive ads landed that no one would admit greenlighting. But hey, at least caucus leaders enjoyed a bus tour of Florida.
Whoever created the anti-Simon mailer — Democrats aren’t exactly inspiring confidence in their gun safety proposals when they perpetually shoot themselves in the foot. Sending mail to people’s homes that puts kids on targets and surrounds them with bullet holes is bad enough. So is putting Simon on a target stand of his own. But not only did Senate Victory hitch their name to the mailer, they doubled down and defended it with whataboutism even after prominent local Black pastor Rev. R.B. Holmes called the ad “inherently racist.” And Ausley’s “I do not prefer these campaign tactics” statement doesn’t absolve her either. We don’t know exactly whose concept the mailer was, but we hear their name rhymes with Smonthan Sucote.
Jeff Brandes — A majority of voters approved of axing the Constitution Revision Commission, a pseudo-governmental body that meets every 20 years to propose changes to the state’s constitution and consists of members appointed by the Senate President, House Speaker, Governor and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But the majority — 54% — wasn’t enough to reach the 60% threshold for amending the state’s constitution. Abolishing the process, which is one of five ways to amend the constitution in Florida, was a top priority for outgoing Brandes, who pushed for its inclusion on this year’s Midterm ballot. His argument, and those who agree with him, is that it’s an unnecessary, bureaucratic process. The CRC last met in 2017 and 2018 when it put seven amendments on the ballot, including some oddly bundled issues and a ban on dog racing. With Tuesday’s vote, the infamous CRC will live on.
Florida Education Association — It paid for the LG spot on the Crist ticket ($500K contribution) and lost BIG. It’ll be nearly impossible to thwart labor reform policies in 2023/2024.
Jerry Demings — Four years and millions of dollars later, Mayor Demings’ signature issue — a new tax to fund transportation — crashed and burned like just another wreck on Interstate 4. Demings snatched defeat from the jaws of victory through a combination of arrogance, incompetence and incoherent messaging.
Disney — After arrogantly claiming that it would stop at nothing to repeal the Parental Rights bill in April, the House of Mouse did … nothing. The former 800-pound gorilla of Florida politics turned into a shaking chihuahua as moderate Republicans and Democrats were left to fend for themselves amid a red tsunami. Facing hostile Republican supermajorities and an emboldened Governor, the Burbank-based company is in a quagmire of its own making for years to come. At least Bob Chapek and his comically out-of-touch fellow executives have Gavin Newsom’s shoulder to cry on.
Florida Senate staff — They’ll never have Sen. Janet Cruz’s amazing pancakes again, which is a tragedy for all.
Dan Newman — After getting tied up in the “ghost” candidate investigation surrounding the effort to unseat Sen. José Javier Rodríguez in 2020, Newman needed some wins this cycle to distract from the scandal. He didn’t get them. Instead, his major losses include Janet Cruz’s upset in her Tampa-based Senate district and Andrew Learned in his east Hillsborough-based House district, losses that handed over two seats to the GOP.
Friends of the Everglades and Votewater.org — Every Senate candidate endorsed by Votewater — the left-leaning environmental group formerly known as Bullsugar — lost Tuesday, and their U.S. House slate didn’t do much better. They even endorsed candidates that had zero chance of winning — even if there had been no “red wave.” The abysmal showing this cycle proves they should leave the politics of the Everglades to someone else and find another hobby.
Max Herrle — After Kristin Dozier took first place in the Tallahassee Mayoral Primary, the runoff between her and incumbent John Dailey was hers to lose. She did, providing Herrle with another L this cycle. Tallahassee has been receptive to “progressive” pols in recent cycles, but the messaging here was off in this race from Aug. 24 onward, and the decision to have Dozier match Dailey’s position on a charter review — whether you’re for it or not — did nothing but make her look like a watered-down version of the sitting Mayor. That’s a losing campaign strategy, brought to you by a guy who had a losing record in his other local races this cycle.
Justin Ishbia — The billionaire sicked super PAC Progress Pinellas on Anna Paulina Luna in a clear effort to help his first cousin, Eric Lynn. What did more than $9 million I independent expenditures get him? A nine-point loss in a district Trump won in 2020 by seven. Luna ahead of the primary promised the millions being spent to drown out her candidacy would be set on fire. Writing checks like this surely burned.
Lucinda Johnston — Pinellas County Democrats haven’t taken a drubbing quite like this since, well it’s hard to remember when. Dems lost a congressional seat with Eric Lynn’s fall to Luna, they lost a chance to flip an open Senate seat blue, lost an incumbent Democrat on the County Commission, saw two conservatives elected to the School Board and went red for everything at the top of the ticket, including Governor, U.S. Senate and all statewide races. While the congressional loss was fueled by redistricting, the Pinellas operation lacked a resonating messaging strategy, the bench was lacking and fundraising wasn’t where it needed to be. Perhaps a swing county shouldn’t have elected a progressive to run its Democratic Party operations.
The Listener Group — We’ve poked fun at UNF and we’ve raised our eyebrows after reading internal polling memos from too many firms to list. But The Listener Group is its own kind of special, predicting Crist would win the Governor race by seven points … in October … late October. There’s no feasible defense for being off by nearly 27%. Crist wasn’t surging late, and anyone with two eyes and a brain could tell he was doomed just by comparing pix of one of his rallies with one of the Governor’s. Fortunately, an error of this magnitude virtually guarantees the TLG will get booted from major polling averages. Unfortunately, it probably guarantees them a niche market as soothsayers to flailing Florida Dems for the next couple of election cycles.
Stephen Ross — The Miami Dolphins owner and developer suffered a major blow Tuesday night when voters rejected ballot questions that would have allowed him to redevelop the former Deauville Beach Resort site and lease city-owned parking lots. Ross spent nearly $2 million on the campaign to pass the Deauville item. We’d say that’s money not well-spent.
Sarasota Memorial — COVID-19 politics have been set for a while in the Sunshine State — most Floridians hate mask and vaccine mandates, and social distancing was a term they kicked to the curb in 2020. Sarasota Memorial didn’t get the memo, and their inability to read the room led to a crop of new members being elected to the Sarasota Public Hospital Board, including Victor Rohe, who was elected with 71% of the vote Tuesday after running on a platform of “medical freedom.” The staff at SMH would be wise not to roll their eyes, or their prognosis will get worse.
Transportation — Two local referendums failed Tuesday night — one in Hillsborough County and one in Orange County. Both would have levied a 1% sales tax to fund sweeping improvements to roads, transportation infrastructure and transit. That both efforts failed is a major loss for two counties with growing transportation nightmares and shows that timing may have been ill-advised as voters facing soaring housing costs and rising inflation set aside progress for the bottom line. The problem is particularly striking in Hillsborough, where voters just two years ago approved an almost identical referendum with 57% of the vote, a measure that was later struck down in court.
Legacy Media — How irrelevant is Florida’s legacy media in the era of DeSantis? Two of Florida’s major newspapers, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel, declined to endorse “candidates in races for Governor, Senate or President, including this year’s races.” Not that anyone in this political climate was seeking their support. But the Tribune Publishing Company papers probably made the right call by keeping their lips zipped on the top-of-ticket races. The same can’t be said for the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, both of which endorsed Crist and Demings … If a tree falls in the forest, as they say.
Sean Pittman and ESP Media — They handled comms in the Governor race four years ago, but one could pin the blame for that loss on any of 100 other problems (or 4 million of them, but that’s ancient history). They got the ball again this year, with a far less flawed candidate running for a state Senate seat on their home turf. They promptly ran into the other end zone and continued doing so until the clock ran out. This is the kind of performance that would get a coach left at the airport six games in, but for some reason, Dems decided to let them finish out the season.
Ione Townsend — Democrats statewide took a beating Tuesday night, but perhaps nowhere as bad as in Hillsborough County. Low voter turnout, especially among Democrats, led to two Republicans unseating incumbent Democrats on the County Commission and flipping the board red. Despite becoming a blue county in recent election cycles and performing well for Democrats in 2020 even as the rest of the state saw Republican gains, every statewide Republican candidate this cycle won in Hillsborough — some by a lot. The failures are no doubt directly related to Democratic voter apathy as the County party failed to turnout voters. Townsend did well two years ago in getting her voters to the polls, but tanked this time around, begging the question of whether new party leadership is needed to revitalize a now limping party apparatus.
Andrew Warren — Warren attempted to draw attention to DeSantis’ illegal (?) overreach in the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s office, but the Governor went on to flip the county, not just at the top of the ticket, but almost the whole ballot. Clearly, voters don’t seem too loyal to their beloved former State Attorney. If he’s able to win his legal fight over his suspension, it doesn’t look like Hillsborough voters would take him back anyway.
Susie Wiles — She was already on the outs with Team DeSantis after a high-profile breakup, and the chances of her connections to Trump-world bailing her out seem more slim after the ex-president’s non-Florida picks floundered. Her magic just didn’t seem to export outside of state lines. She recruited Tudor Dixon to challenge Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer only to go down in flames. She also advised Blake Masters’ campaign against Sen. Mark Kelly in Arizona, but that contest also is going the Democrat’s way. Wiles may boast ownership of Trump’s surprise 2016 victory in Florida, but she’s also stuck with this cycle’s failures.