Florida primaries forecast a competitive midterm election

A Miami-Dade sticker given to each voter on election day.
A Miami-Dade sticker given to each voter on election day. Photo credit: Contributed photo

This past Tuesday, Aug. 23 voters took to the polls to decide the winner of several pivotal primary election matchups.

Former Republican governor turned Democratic congressman Charlie Crist defeated Nikki Fried in the gubernatorial primary by 400,000 votes, according to The Associated Press. He will take on incumbent Republican Gov. Ronald Desantis in November, who in a recent poll, is favored to win by 8% of votes.

The other statewide primary was for one of Florida’s key Senate seats and was won by former police officer and FL-10 Congresswoman Val Demmings. Demmings defeated Brian Rush with 85% of the vote, according to the Associated Press. She will face incumbent Republican Marco Rubio who still holds a double-digit lead over Demmings according to a poll of likely voters conducted by Center Street PAC.

Sophomore criminology and political science major Kasey Michaud was able to vote for the first time ever in this primary.

“This was the first election that I was actually keeping up with. I turned 18 last year and this was my first chance to vote,” Michaud said. “Knowing that every vote counts and there is no electoral college to get in the way empowers me as a voter and I am glad I was able to make informed votes for my party’s primary.”

In Miami, State Senator Annette Taddeo will face Republican house incumbent Maria Elvira Salazar after defeating City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russel by 42% of the vote in the Democratic Primary, according to the Associated Press. Salazar is still projected to win in November by roughly 5 points, according to a recent poll by Florida for Economic Advancement.

Three Miami-Dade County (MDC) commissioners were voted into office, including District 8 Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins. This was Higgins first election after filling-in the seat following Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s victory in 2020. The race to replace longtime District 6 Commissioner Rebecca Sosa will go into a runoff after neither Kevin Marino Cabrera nor Jorge Fors Jr. were able to receive 50% of the vote.

Highly contested MDC School Board elections were won by Dorothy Bendross-Miningall, Robert Alonso, Maria Teresa Rojas and Monica Colucci. Colucci, who received Desantis’ endorsement, earned the spot over 24-year school board member Marta Pérez. Alonso, also a recipient of Desantis support, came out victorious. Rojas and Bendross-Mindingall retained their position on the board.

Students registered to vote with their University of Miami address were able to vote at the Watsco Center or St. Augustine Church. They were also eligible to vote by mail or vote before in person across MDC via early voting.

“I chose to vote in the primaries because I wanted to make sure that my values would be represented in the upcoming election this fall,” said Sarah Ekola, a senior psychology and political science major who voted by mail. “It was also important to make sure that my voice was heard for local elections where those legislatures impact my life every day.”

The midterm election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Students who want to register to vote can receive more information at miami.edu/vote for more information.