Stories about Florida

Esteban Bovo Jr., Daniella Levine Cava running in Miami-Dade County’s mayoral election

Esteban Bovo Jr. and Daniella Levine Cava are running in the nonpartisan general election for Mayor of Miami-Dade County on November 3, 2020. In the August nonpartisan primary, Bovo and Levine Cava advanced with 29.5% and 28.6% of the vote, respectively.

Though the race is nonpartisan, the candidates have received partisan support, with Republican organizations endorsing Bovo and Democratic organizations endorsing Levine Cava. The office was last held by a Democratic-aligned candidate in 2004. In 2016, incumbent Carlos Gimenez, a Republican, won re-election 48% to 32%.

Both candidates currently serve as Miami-Dade County commissioners. Bovo said his priorities include supporting small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, investing in law enforcement, and investing in infrastructure and transportation projects. Levine Cava said her priorities include supporting working people during the coronavirus pandemic, addressing climate change, and investing in infrastructure.

According to the Miami-Dade County website, the mayor “is Miami-Dade’s highest-ranking elected official and chief administrator, who oversees a metropolitan government with 28,417 employees, an annual budget of approximately $8.9 billion, and serving 2.7 million residents.” The seat of the county is Miami.

Additional reading:
Mayoral election in Miami-Dade County, Florida (2020)
Municipal elections in Miami-Dade County, Florida (2020)

Florida governor appoints Grosshans to state supreme court

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appointed Jamie Grosshans to the Florida Supreme Court on September 14, 2020. She was appointed to succeed Justice Robert Luck, who was elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in November 2019. Grosshans will join two other DeSantis nominees on the seven-member court.

The governor had originally appointed Renatha Francis to the position on May 26, but a five-member Florida Supreme Court ruled against Francis’ appointment and ordered the governor to select a different nominee. State Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D-44) filed a lawsuit challenging Francis’ appointment in July 2020.

Grosshans is a judge on the Florida 5th District Court of Appeal. She was appointed to that court by Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2018. She was a judge for the Orange County Court in Florida from 2017 to 2018. Before that, Grosshans was a solo practitioner for Plant Street Law. She also previously worked as an assistant state attorney for Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison State College and a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Florida Supreme Court justices are chosen through a process of assisted appointment. A judicial nominating commission screens potential judicial candidates and submits a list of nominees to the governor. The governor must appoint a judge from this list. Newly appointed judges serve for at least one year, after which they appear in a yes-no retention election held during the next general election. If retained, judges serve six-year terms.

The Florida Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. As of September 2020, all six of the sitting justices were appointed by a Republican governor.

In 2019, there were 22 supreme court vacancies across 14 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Retirements caused 14 of the vacancies. In 2020, there have been 20 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected.

Additional reading

Florida Supreme Court nullifies appointment, orders governor to select new nominee

Five members of the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the appointment of Renatha Francis. Justice John Couriel recused himself. The court ordered Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to select a new nominee from a list of seven recommended by a judicial nominating commission.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) had appointed Francis to the state supreme court on May 26, 2020, to succeed Robert Luck. In July, State Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D-District 44) filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment. Thompson argued Francis was unqualified because she had not been a member of the Florida Bar for the amount of time (10 years) required under the Florida Constitution. Francis will reach the 10-year membership requirement on September 24, 2020.

The court held that Francis was not eligible because she did not meet the eligibility requirements under the state constitution. It also held the governor violated the 60-day deadline for filling state supreme court vacancies provided by the state constitution. “The Governor has not satisfied his legal obligation to fill the vacancy by making a constitutionally valid appointment. … The Governor has not complied with the constitution’s clear commands,” the court wrote. DeSantis has until September 14, 2020, to select a replacement.

The Florida Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. Justices are chosen through a process of assisted appointment whereby a judicial nominating commission screens potential judicial candidates and submits a list of nominees to the governor. The governor must appoint a judge from this list. Newly appointed judges serve for at least one year, after which they appear in a yes-no retention election held during the next general election. If retained, judges serve six-year terms.

Additional reading

Pam Keith, Oz Vazquez complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Pam Keith defeated Oz Vazquez in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 18th Congressional District on August 18. Keith received 79.9% of the vote to Vazquez’s 20.1%. Keith will face incumbent Brian Mast (R) and K.W. Miller (independent) in the general election.

Before the election, both Keith and Vazquez completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Ballotpedia asks all federal, state, and local candidates to complete a survey so voters can discover what motivates them on political and personal levels.

We asked the candidates, “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?”

Keith: “Protecting and defending the Constitution
Protecting voting rights and fair elections
Ensuring every American has lifelong portable health care
Ensuring that Americans not only have jobs but that their work is able to sustain themselves and their families
Address the existential threat of global climate change
Obtaining federal funding to fix the water management infrastructure in our district
Protecting and improving Social Security and Medicare for our seniors

Ensuring that our veterans get everything they need, including speedy, quality, comprehensive healthcare”

Vazquez: “I am personally passionate about making sure that working and middle class families have the same shot at the American dream I had, which includes fighting to make sure that retirees have the benefits they’ve been promised, protecting our access to quality, affordable healthcare, and ensuring our kids and grandkids have access to the education and opportunities they need to get ahead.”

In 2018, 1,957 candidates completed a Candidate Connection survey. This number represents 6.9% of all 28,315 candidates Ballotpedia covered during that cycle. Out of the 1,957 respondents, 477 (24.4%) won their elections.

To read the candidates’ responses and learn more about the primary, click here: Florida’s 18th Congressional District election, 2020 (August 18 Democratic primary)

To read more about the general election in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, click here:

Florida’s 18th Congressional District election, 2020

To read more about Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here: Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection

Voters decide state legislative races in three states

Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming held statewide primaries on August 18, 2020. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3.

There were 265 state legislative seats up for election, including 45 state Senate seats, and 220 state House seats.

The following information was current as of August 20. At that time, some races were still too close to call.

Across the three states, 206 incumbents filed for re-election to the 265 seats. Preliminary results indicate at least nine incumbents were defeated.

In the state Senate elections, 33 incumbents filed for 45 seats. At least two did not advance to the general election. In the state House elections, 173 incumbents competed for re-election to 220 seats. At least seven were defeated.

The next statewide primary will be held on September 1 in Massachusetts.

Additional reading:

Voters in Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming decide August 18 congressional primaries

Congressional primary elections for two U.S. Senate seats and 29 U.S. House seats were held in Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming on August 18, 2020. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.


One U.S. Senate seat and the sole at-large U.S. House seat were on the ballot in Alaska. The incumbents in both races filed for re-election. Sen. Daniel S. Sullivan (R) was unopposed and advanced to the general election. Rep. Don Young (R) faced challengers in the primary. He advanced to the general election.


All 27 U.S. House seats in Florida were on the ballot. Twenty-five incumbents—13 Democrats and 12 Republicans—filed for re-election. Fifteen incumbents were unopposed and advanced automatically. Ten remaining incumbents faced challengers in the primary. One incumbent lost his bid for re-election, Rep. Ross Spano (R-15). Rep. Ted Yoho (R-3) did not file for re-election, and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19) withdrew prior to the election. As of August 19, 2020, the results for the 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary and the 7th Congressional District Republican primary were too close to call.


One U.S. Senate seat and the one at-large U.S. House seat were on the ballot in Wyoming. Sen. Mike Enzi (R) did not file for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Rep. Liz Cheney (R) filed for re-election to the U.S. House. Cheney faced one challenger in the primary and advanced to the general election.

Entering the 2020 election, Alaska’s U.S. congressional delegation has two Republican senators and one Republican representative. Florida has two Republican senators, 14 Republican representatives, and 13 Democratic representatives. Wyoming has two Republican senators and one Republican representative. The U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Only 33 out of 100 Senate seats are up for regular election, and two seats are up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 232 Democrats, 198 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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Pam Keith defeats Oz Vazquez in Florida’s 18th Congressional District Democratic primary

Pam Keith defeated Oz Vazquez in the Democratic primary in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. At 7:37 p.m. Eastern Time Decision Desk HQ called the race with 16.5% of precincts reporting. Keith received 79.9% of the vote and Vazquez received 20.1%.

Both candidates had received notable primary endorsements leading up to the election, with Keith garnering support from VoteVets and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D). Vazquez led the field in fundraising, with $450,439 to Keith’s $282,370.

The district has been rated by independent outlets as Solid Republican. Incumbent Brian Mast (R) won his 2018 race by 8.6 percentage points.

John Mina wins Democratic nomination for a full term as Orange County Sheriff

Orange County, Florida, Sheriff John Mina (D) defeated four challengers to win the Democratic nomination for his first full term in an August 18 primary. As of 8:00 p.m. on election night, Mina had received 44.4% of the vote, followed by Andrew Darling with 19.2% and Jose Lopez with 15.7%.

Mina, a former Orlando chief of police, was first elected in 2018 to complete the remainder of Jerry Demings’ (D) term as sheriff after Demings won election as mayor of Orange County. He says during his first two years in office, crime rates fell and officers recorded fewer instances of use of force.

Mina faces independent write-in candidates Tim Lucas Adams and Winston Johnson in the November general election. No Republican candidate filed for the office.

Carlos Gimenez wins Republican nomination to challenge Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in FL-26

Carlos Gimenez defeated Omar Blanco to win the Republican nomination in Florida’s 26th Congressional District in a primary on August 18. As of 8:45 p.m. on election night, Gimenez had 60% of the vote to Blanco’s 40%.

Gimenez, who has served as mayor of Miami-Dade County since 2011, says he reduced tax rates and cut spending while increasing the speed of county services. He said he would be the stronger challenger to Mucarsel-Powell.

Blanco, the president of Miami-Dade Firefighters and Paramedics Local 1403, said he had experience with seeking policy change in Washington. He also accused Gimenez of having mismanaged the county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying his policies had been harmful to local businesses.

Gimenez will face incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) in the general election. One election forecaster says the race is a toss-up, one says it tilts towards Mucarsel-Powell, and one says it leans towards Mucarsel-Powell.

Kat Cammack wins Florida’s 3rd Congressional District’s Republican primary

Kat Cammack defeated Judson Sapp, Gavin Rollins, James St. George, and six others in the Republican primary in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District. With 98% of precincts reporting, Cammack received 25% of the vote followed by Sapp, Rollins, and St. George with 20%, 15%, and 14%, respectively. No other candidate received over 10% of the vote.

Incumbent Rep. Ted Yoho (R) is not running for re-election, leaving the seat open.

Cammack, a former deputy chief of staff to Yoho, received endorsements from two Tea Party organizations and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said, “We need to send strong conservatives like … Cammack to Washington who have the courage to take on career politicians and drain the swamp.”

First elected in 2012, Yoho has represented District 3 since district lines were redrawn following the 2010 census, receiving over 55% of the vote in each election. In 2016, District 3 voters supported Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D). Trump received 56% of the vote in the district to Clinton’s 40%.