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Top 5 Most Controversial Florida Election Results According To A Gen-Z College Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

The Florida election results return as expected, with few exceptions. Some outcomes offered hope for the future and for humanity, and some were controversial. All  the results were impacted by the recent state-wide redistricting, which will be discussed in further detail below. There’s a lot to talk about in the nation’s largest swing state, so let’s get into it.

Governor: Ron DeSantis 

I’m sure most of us expected Ron DeSantis would remain as Florida’s governor.. Alachua County was tied for third in votes for his opponent Charlie Crist, in line with Broward and Leon County with 57% of the vote cast for Crist. This number was beat only by Gadsden County, with 62% of votes favoring Crist. In the end, DeSantis beat his opponent in a landslide, with 59.4% of more than 7.7 million total votes.

The Competition: 

Identifying as a Democrat (controversially-so), Crist is not new to Florida politics; he was Florida’s governor before, but a Republican. He started as a Republican state senator in 1992 and served as the states’ attorney general and governor. In 2010 he ran for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation and lost. In 2012, he made the switch to the Democratic party. Prior to his most recent run, he had been the 13th Congressional District’s representative since 2016. 

U.S. Senate: Marco Rubio 

Marco Rubio will stay for a third term in the U.S. Senate as he beat Val Demings by a margin similar to  the governor’s race: 57.7%to 41.3%. Alachua County had the fourth most votes for Demings — 58%. Broward and Leon were tied with 59% of the vote for Demings, and she received 64% of Gadsden’s vote. 

The Competition:

Described as “too liberal” by her Republican competitor, Demings was Orlando’s first female police chief, the former representative of the 10th Congressional District, which covers most of Orlando. She would have been Florida’s first Black senator. 

Below are five of the most controversial and newsworthy. 

District 5: John Rutherford

The Controversy

This race occurred in one of the most controversial districts not because of its election result, but because of how it was created. In the old congressional map, this district ran along the top of Florida, from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, next to the Georgia border. It leaned strongly-Democrat and represented mostly Black constituents. DeSantis redrew the congressional districts himself, making him the first Florida governor to ever do so, according to ProPublica. He shattered this district, breaking it into four pieces and tucking those pieces into the majority-white, heavily Republican districts below them. The new District 5 is southeast of Jacksonville and was uncontested. It was only one of 12 uncontested races nationwide. 

The Winner: 

Conservative Republican John Rutherford won. Rutherford  has a picture of him and former President Trump on the front page of his website. He previously served as the representative for the 4th Congressional District; was an elected sheriff with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office; is a devout Catholic; and has some very polarizing views on gun policy, the environment, health care and the economy. He opposes LGBTQ+ rights, voted against the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, voted against both of Trump’s impeachments and believes the 2020 election results were fraudulent. 

Congressional District 7

The Controversy: 

This is another redrawn district that flipped to a Republican majority. The old District 7 was a relatively small district northwest of Orlando. The redrawn district maintained this area but now includes the land leading to the coast near New Smyrna Beach, a town that is nearly 89% white. 

The Winner: Cory Mills

Cory Mills won the district with 59.5% of the vote. He is a military veteran who served under Trump as a Department of Defense adviser and as a foreign policy expert for media outlets like Fox News and Newsmax. He is pro-life, said “illegal immigration” creates a “social drain” and said the 2020 election was fraudulent. 

The Loser: Karen Green

Jamaican-born Democrat Karen Green, a teen-mom and cancer survivor who immigrated to America in her early twenties secured 41.5% of the vote, losing to Mills. is. She is a pro-choice, pro-immigration candidate who wants to give American seniors medical relief and make housing more affordable. 

Congressional District 10

The Winner: Maxwell Alejandro Frost 

Val Demings’ Senate run left the strongly Democrat-leaning district that includes Orlando and its northwest area up for grabs. Enter Frost, a 25-year-old who is the first Gen Z, Afro-Cuban elected to Congress with 59% of the vote. He is possibly the first congress member to have been openly a part of the One Direction fandom (his favorite is Harry Styles). Frost is a former March For Our Lives and ACLU organizer and has helped pass multiple pieces of gun control legislation. His campaign was based on expanding Medicare for all, ending gun violence, preventing a future pandemic, advocating for climate change legislation in Congress, ending mass incarceration and making housing and transportation more affordable and efficient. He speaks both Spanish and English, was arrested in November 2021 at a voting rights rally near the White House and performed in Obama’s second inaugural parade with his high school band in 2013. 

The Loser: Calvin Wimbish 

His competitor Republican Calvin Wimbish received 39.5% of the vote. His goal was to “get America back on track with the Founding Fathers.” He likened himself to Frederick Douglas, “because even as a slave, he knew the value of doing what was right for the nation.” He also believed in the conspiracy theory that someone hacked the voting machines during the 2020 election and deleted votes for Trump. Need I say more? 

Congressional District 13 

The Winner: Anna Paulina Luna

With Charlie Crist running for governor, the district that encompasses most of Pinellas County needed a new leader. Anna Paulina Luna, a Southern California native, served in the military for nine years and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida. She was the director of Hispanic engagement for Turning Point USA, a right-wing organization that advocates for freedom and education for conservative students. She is a pro-life, anti-vax Mexican American woman and ran on a campaign promising to protect Florida’s beaches and coastlines, but to also fight “the left’s radical green new deal regulations,” “cut unnecessary regulations” and restore American energy independence by restoring gas and oil leases and the Keystone Pipeline. She also believes the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. She took 53.1% of the vote, and her win makes her the first female District 13 representative and swings a historically competitive district back to red. 

The Loser: Eric Lynn

Eric Lynn, her Democratic competitor, received 45.1% of the vote. He went to St. Petersburg High School, the same as Charlie Crist. He has worked with the federal government since graduating from college while completing law school at Georgetown. He was one of Obamas earliest supporters in 2008, serving as his Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and leading the fight to finally allow lesbian, gay and bisexual service members to serve in the military. He supports common sense gun reform, a higher federal minimum wage, is pro-choice and planned to invest in renewable technology to fight climate change. 

Congressional District 15 

The Winner: Laurel Lee

District 15’s former representative was reassigned to District 18, which left the newly drawn District 15 up for grabs. According to ABC News, this seat was regarded as the most competitive race for Congress in the state. Situated in a large area northeast of Tampa, it has been Republican ruled since the 1990’s and will continue to be with Laurel Lee’s win with 58.5% of the vote. Lee is a former Gator who served as a judge in Hillsborough County and as the Florida Secretary of State from 2019 until she resigned in mid-May of 2022, citing no particular reason at the time – she announced her 2022 congressional bid five days later. Weeks before the 2020 election, she tried to purge felons from voter rolls if they owed money to the courts; a move made after more than 2 million people had already voted. She is pro-life, supports finishing Trumps’ Mexico border wall and reviving the Keystone Pipeline. 

The Loser: Alan Cohn

Alan Cohn (her independent competitor who received 41.5% of the vote, is a decorated journalist, and previously served as the old District 15’s representative in 2020. In 2007, he won the George Foster Peabody Award, one of journalism’s highest honors and has won four Emmy Awards for investigative journalism. His campaign promised to lower taxes, lower prescription drug costs, improve infrastructure and provide bipartisan leadership. 

All wins and figures are based on the New York Times’ election calls. Redistricting information was taken from the FiveThirtyEight project and ProPublica.

Marinna Stopa is currently in her third year at the University of Florida studying journalism and geography, with concentrations in data and meteorology. She is in her first year as UFL CC, but began her career with Her Campus as a news writer! When she isn't hunched over her computer typing away, she loves to watch documentaries or rearrange her room and she could talk about topics ranging from the downfall of One Direction to the Tampa Bay Lightning for hours on end. She hopes to one day work in a space that allows her to combine her interests in data, weather, and writing and, hopefully, make these fields more accessible to women just like her.