2022 midterm elections: Key Florida races to watch

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — November’s election is just a day away and the WFLA is looking at all the big races for Florida, whether it can change the balance of power in Washington, or change leadership in the state.

Below, the following six races are on our watch list for their potential impacts in Florida and its representation in the nation’s capital.

Governor: DeSantis vs. Christo

Obviously, the first big race on everyone’s mind will be who is going to be the governor of Florida. The incumbent Ron DeSantis is running against Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor who became Democratic congressman for Florida’s 13th district in the US House of Representatives.

Both candidates have served in multiple offices, and both candidates are expected to vote for Florida.

If Christ wins the seat for the Democrats, he will have control of state agencies, appointments, and executive policy. If DeSantis reigns, he will remain on the course he has chartered. The only piece of speculation on DeSantis’ front is that if he wins, will he remain in office for all four years of his term, or will he run for president.

It is a question that has been focused throughout the campaign season, and has even been included in the single gubernatorial debate. Despite being pushed repeatedly by Crist during the debate, DeSantis did not respond or respond to Chance. DeSantis will have to step down if he wins re-election, and then chooses to run for President of the United States in 2024, replacing Lieutenant Governor Janet Nunez in the dominant seat to end the term.

US Senate: Rubio v Demings

Looking at how Florida plays out in national politics, Republican Marco Rubio, in the race for Florida’s US Senate seat since 2011, is pitted against US Congressman Val Demings, his Democratic challenger.

The US Senate currently sits on a razor’s edge of balance. While Democrats have been in control of the Senate since 2020, their slim majority have relied on lengthy negotiations to pass the policy agenda of Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden. The VP has to vote tie-breaker several times when it comes to passing laws.

Florida’s Senate seat isn’t the only slot that could change the balance of power in the US Congress, but most of the elections so far are projected to win Rubio. If Demings wins, it means Democrats are closer to taking control of an upper house majority, although if Rubio maintains his position, the Senate’s already weak understanding becomes more uncertain.

Agriculture Commissioner: Simpson v. Blemuru

The race to replace Democrat Nikki Fried, a former candidate for governor of Florida and current commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is a mix of faces familiar and unfamiliar to residents across the state.

Incumbent Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson is the Republican nominee for Agriculture Commissioner, while he faces Naomi Blemur, a Miami-based businessman and member of the Miami-Dade Democratic Executive Committee.

Simpson is endorsed by Gov. DeSantis, while Blemur is endorsed by Miami-Dade Democrat and state Senator Annette Taddeo.

In terms of how the race will affect Florida, Simpson’s campaign website states that he will use his experience as a farmer and long experience in state politics to guide his policies as commissioner, including veterans. Priority will be given to economic freedom and environmental protection. , Blemoor’s campaign site says it is focusing on ending poverty and hunger in the state, gun rights reform and clean energy, using the commissioner’s office as a tool to do so.

Florida Senate District 14: Cruz v. Collins

The state Senate race for District 14, which pits incumbent Janet Cruz against Republican challenger Jay Collins, is centered on Tampa. District 14 covers parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties based on newly created congressional maps.

Formerly, Cruz was the state senator for District 18. With new maps come new numbers. Collins is fighting to win the seat and adjust the balance of party power in the state legislature, which already skews Republicans.

During the special session in 2022, even with all Democrats exiting the chamber, Republicans were able to maintain a quorum and have enough members to vote through the legislation. If Cruz holds on to his district, the power game won’t change much. If Collins takes the seat, it gives another vote to the Republican agenda in Tallahassee.

US House District 13: Luna v. Linney

The race for US District 13 in the St. Petersburg area is a battle for former US Representative Crist’s seat in Congress. Republican nominee and Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna is campaigning for the Pinellas district again. His opponent, Eric Lin, is a former national security adviser to President Barack Obama.

In the congressional map redrawn from 2022, the district is leaning more Republican as voters, but the county overall has also become more conservative since 2020. Both candidates are appealing to voters, the results of which affect the US House of Representatives.

Depending on who wins, the number of seats can add up to how the House flips, and which party is in control. As for the national balance of power in Washington, there is only a small majority of controls for Democrats. If Republicans take over the lower house, California Republican Kevin McCarthy will become House Speaker, and committee control will change.

US House District 15: Lee v. Kohno

Another rescheduled district, District 15, is also in the balance of national politics. If former Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee wins the race, it would move Republicans closer to majority control in Congress.

With the potential to transfer control to the US Senate as well, it is possible that Republicans take both chambers of Congress. Doing so could allow the GOP to block President Biden’s agenda until the end of his term or make a compromise even more difficult than in the past two years, as Democrats currently have razor-thin control.

The US House currently holds a 220 Democratic majority, while Republicans have 212 seats. Only 218 are needed to take control of the chamber, meaning Democrats would have to lose three seats to lose control and Republicans would gain five. There are three seats vacant in the Congress before the mid-term.

Tampa Bay holds just two of the 435 seats for election to the US Congress or for re-election to Congress. Because of the length of the term in Congress, the race for the House resumes every two years.

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