DeSantis responds to predictions Miami-Dade could turn red for first gov since Jeb Bush

on Nov7
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In 2002, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush became the last to-date Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the heavily-populated and diverse Miami-Dade County in South Florida, which current Gov. Ron DeSantis could be in position to do for the first time since.

DeSantis told Fox News that Miamians understand he was the governor “saving their jobs, their businesses and keeping their kids in school during COVID” and that opponent Charlie Crist’s Democratic Party opposed him on each front.

“They wanted basically indefinite lockdowns and school closures. And that is not good for blue-collar people.”

The county, which extends south and west of the city into Homestead and parts of the Everglades, has an approximate population of 2.6 million, while the city of Miami proper has about 440,000 people as of 2021.

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Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist participate in a live audience debate hosted  by local CBS affiliate WEPC on October 24, 2022.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist participate in a live audience debate hosted  by local CBS affiliate WEPC on October 24, 2022.
(Screenshot/WFLA)

Crist, running as a Republican for governor in 2006, won the race overall but lost Miami-Dade to Democrat Jim Davis III.

The county has a Democratic executive, while Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez is one of few big-city leaders aligned with the GOP.

The city has a high Latino and Hispanic population, particularly Cuban-Americans. In 2020, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., upset incumbent and former Bill Clinton cabinetmember Donna Shalala in the district covering that part of the city and beyond.

DeSantis said the GOP establishment view that “you need open borders and amnesty to appeal to Hispanic voters” is “dead wrong.”

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The City of Miami skyline is seen on August 6, 2010 in Miami, Florida.

The City of Miami skyline is seen on August 6, 2010 in Miami, Florida.
(2010 Getty Images)

“My first year, we banned sanctuary cities and newsmedia thought that would be not approved down [in Miami] – And yet Hispanic voters in Florida had the highest approval rating for our policy to ban sanctuary cities,” DeSantis added.

Invoking his recent transport of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard that had been decried as racist and untoward by pundits including Florida’s own former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, DeSantis said the perception was the operation would not go over well, but Hispanic voters in the state supported him on it.

“They understand the border is out of control,” he said.

DeSantis said another issue relevant to South Floridians is crime, adding that he called out the Florida National Guard during the George Floyd riots.

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Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush during the first Republican presidential debate on Aug. 6, 2015.

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush during the first Republican presidential debate on Aug. 6, 2015.
(AP)

“I also think we reflect their values as parents raising kids. We fought Disney to make sure that the kids wouldn’t be sexualized in elementary school by keeping things like gender ideology out of the classroom. But yet it’s the left that wants to put all that in there,” he said.

“So I think you just see Latinos down here, but really blue-collar people generally saying we’re representing them, we are standing up for them, their jobs, their education, their safety and their families.”

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The number of registered Republicans voting in Miami-Dade County also notably surpassed Democrats last week, just after President Biden visited for a campaign stump. The county is 72% Hispanic according to the AP.

The adjacent mainland counties of Broward and Palm Beach are still reliably blue, while to the south, Monroe County – comprising mostly of the Keys – has seen its congressional seat flip to and fro in recent elections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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