DeSantis Gillum

Democrats have touted their record turnout in Tuesday’s primary as proof of a “blue wave” in November. And while 1.5 million voters is a record turnout for Democrats, Republicans turned out in higher numbers — 1.6 million voters. Even with nearly 250,000 more Democrats than Republicans registered in the state, the GOP intensity resulted in higher turnout 35% to 31%.

Another record was broken Tuesday. Congressman Ron DeSantis received more votes for Governor in a primary than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican, in at least 40 years. DeSantis votes totaled 915,747. That beat Rick Scott’s 2014 re-election total by more than 75,000 votes. The closest candidate was Bob Graham’s 1978 re-election bid when he faced token opposition. He received 839,128 votes. Florida was a much smaller state 40 years ago, but DeSantis’ vote totals — against a very competitive opponent in Adam Putnam — is an indication of Republican intensity in 2018.

One knowledgeable political professional told FLA News that while the Democrats are passionate and loud this year, Republicans are staying quiet and doing their speaking at the voting booth.

Because of the political intensity and the importance of Florida, as the third largest state, outside groups will spend millions trying to influence the governor’s race.

The Democratic Governors Association announced Thursday it will donate $1 million to Andrew Gillum’s political committee.

“Winning the Florida governor’s race is a top priority for the DGA this year,” Elisabeth Pearson, DGA Executive Director said. “This significant investment will help Mayor Andrew Gillum build off his inspiring primary victory and continue spreading his positive message across Florida.”

The Republican Governors Association announced Thursday that it too will spend money to tell Floridians about Gillum, and the scandals involving his time as Tallahassee Mayor.

“Radical Far-Left Democrat Andrew Gillum’s entire political career has been tainted by corruption,” said RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson. “From a major FBI investigation to his Costa Rican vacation with lobbyists and undercover FBI agents to his abuse of official public resources for political gain, Andrew Gillum has consistently failed to uphold the public trust. Andrew Gillum can’t be trusted to be honest or keep Florida on the right track.”

The RGA released a new website and video about the investigations surrounding Gillum’s time in elected office.

The digital ad says — “Andrew Gillum can’t be trusted.”

The ad is the RGA’s initial investment in the race. The group says it will spend $10 million between now and Election Day.

The DGA and RGA are the first organizations to announce their involvement. They certainly won’t be the last in what is shaping up to be the most expensive governor’s race in Florida history.

David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.