Rick Scott, who left the governor's mansion to run for the Senate, squeezed out Bill Nelson, the veteran centrist Democrat.
Florida voters on Tuesday continued a two-decade streak of Republican dominance by electing former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis as governor.
Former Democratic President Barack Obama twice captured the Sunshine State's electoral votes before Republican President Donald Trump secured a victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Voters in Florida have a rare clear choice between a rock-solid conservative and a democratic socialist for governor. But Democrat Christine Hallquist lost her bid to become the first openly transgender USA governor in Vermont, where Republican incumbent Phil Scott won re-election.
Asked what it would mean for the state if he wins, Gillum said: 'Us winning tonight I think will send a message to Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis as well that the politics of hatred and of division and of separation, that they come to an end, at least in this election, that's what we're going to show.
Hill suspects a DeSantis supporter seized upon her much-viewed Tweet and reported her to Florida election officials, who struck her from the rolls. Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania - where Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf easily won re-election on Tuesday - are typically Democratic states that swung to Trump in 2016, handing him the presidency.
Comedienne Kathy Griffin did not let Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum's concession speech deter her from claiming Gillum actually won. NBC News puts the current vote count at 99% reporting with DeSantis 4,052,246, Gillum 3,996,906 - a difference of 55,340 votes out of over 8 million.
Gillum addressed reporters shortly after 11 p.m. and DeSantis soon declared victory. Youth votes, which went heavily for Gillum, soared, but not enough to overcome the elderly vote, which was dominated by DeSantis.
The outcome of elections for state positions could also affect future control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor - and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!"
Joyner said he moved to Florida to vote in the race.
"So is it a red state?" Quick. But there are certain people in certain states that will never vote for a brown person.
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