This is not the governor's race we expected.
But for Andrew Gillum's historic upset Tuesday, we would have had Democratic nominee Gwen Graham or Philip Levine doing what Florida Democrats always do — relentlessly court moderate, swing voters.
In Ron DeSantis vs. Gillum, the choice is starker, a potentially dramatic generational change. A 39-year-old hard right Republican backed by President Donald Trump versus a 39-year-old hard left Democrat backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Based on Day One of the general election, we also can expect ugly racial politics and heaping doses of socialism talk. DeSantis, the Yale and Harvard law grad and current congressman presumably too smart to clumsily misspeak, said on Fox News that Floridians should not "monkey this up" by electing Tallahassee's mayor for governor, whom he described as "articulate".
Democrats denounced the comments as a Trump-like racist dog whistle. Even Fox News, a big promoter of DeSantis, had to assure viewers that it didn't condone his language. The Republican nominee ought to remember that former Virginia Sen. George Allen reelection's campaign in 2006 tanked after he referred to an Indian-American as "Macaca."
Can the mayor of a mid-sized north Florida city who advocates "Medicare for All," raising the corporate tax rate to better fund education, and a $15 an hour minimum wage — really compete in a purple state that has elected Republicans in the last five governor's race? Plenty of veterans of Florida politics, Republicans and Democrats alike, think the race already is over, that Gillum is a disaster.
For skeptics, one moment in the Democratic primary crystallized why. A moderator at an Aug. 9 televised forum in Jacksonville asked Gillum a simple question.
"Are you socialist or are you capitalist?"
"I am a Democrat and an individual in this state who believes that we've had a rough ride these last several years," Gillum said.
"People are working, many of them harder than ever, and still can't bring down a wage where they can make ends meet. So I realize that these labels are easy to throw on folks, but when you're struggling, when you want to make sure that you can work one job instead of multiple jobs as a way to make ends meet these labels mean nothing," Gillum said.
Political professionals sniffed that a statewide Florida candidate who won't embrace capitalism over socialism is toast.
Gillum is the first Democrat in modern history who does not fetishize Florida swing voters. The personable son of a bus driver and construction worker, he is also the first Democratic gubernatorial nominee who seems to fire up passionate Democrats, and especially African-Americans.
We don't know yet how many infrequent voters went to the polls for Gillum, but his upset occurred in large part because he cleaned up in areas with big African-American voters. This is no small factor in a general election where nearly one in four voters is non-white, and 15 percent African-American.
In Florida's consistently close statewide elections, low African-American turnout virtually dooms a statewide Democratic candidate.
"The fight in this election and elections to come is over the people in this country the people in this country who are unlikely to vote or do not vote… We have always believed that Andrew Gillum was the best pathway for winning back Florida," said Arisha Hatch, Director of the Color Of Change PAC, one of several liberal groups campaigning for Gillum in the primary.
This is hardly Democratic orthodoxy in Florida, however.
"I've always assumed that the path to victory has been through the center," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a moderate Democrat who considered running for governor. "Whether the base is enough to win in the general election we don't know yet. Conventional wisdom says it will be tough."
Another big shift a Gillum candidacy brings. He and his campaign have signalled that he will spend much more energy telling voters what he wants to do as governor than attacking Trump or the Republican nominee.
We'll believe that when we see it. The last two Democratic nominees relentlessly attacked Rick Scott over his record overseeing a health care corporation that committed massive Medicare fraud. They lost.
Gillum has been a rising star in Democratic politics for more than a decade. On Tuesday, he became not just the main star of the Florida Democratic party, but a national star as well. Safe to assume national money is about to start pouring in help him.
One big question facing Gillum is how he withstands negative attacks.
His primary opponents barely criticized him because they saw him as such a longshot and because they did not want to antagonize black voters. Part of what helped him win was billionaire Jeff Greene airing millions of dollars of negative TV, mail, and online attacks on frontrunners Graham and Levine.
The FBI has been investigating corruption at Tallahassee City. Gillum has not been implicated in any wrongdoing, but he is tight with people the FBI has focused on and has been photographed with an undercover officer. Count on Republicans to highlight that scandal in way his Democratic primary rivals never did.
And the socialist attack? Barack Obama faced the same thing and twice won Florida.
But this is an entirely new world. Donald Trump is in the White House, his No. 1 one fan is running for governor, and Democrats just nominated a proud liberal as their standard bearer.
Anything can happen.