1. The Buzz

Florida governor election results: Andrew Gillum versus Ron DeSantis

Track the results live with the Tampa Bay Times political team.
Republican candidate for Governor Ron DeSantis, left, will face off against Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum for the general election in November.
Published Nov. 6, 2018
Updated Nov. 7, 2018

Here’s what you need to know about the Florida governor’s race:

  • Most pre-election polls showed Democrat Andrew Gillum leading Republican Ron DeSantis by a narrow margin. Election night has been a different story.
  • Gillum called DeSantis to concede just before 11 p.m. DeSantis, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump early on, would be the sixth straight Republican to be elected Florida’s governor. Read our full story here.
  • Check out every Florida election result here.

11:36 p.m.: Here was Governor-elect Ron DeSantis' final words of the night.

Thank you so much to everyone who read, and thanks even more to those of you who voted.

11:14 p.m.: Follow @mahoneysthename for the latest on Gov.-Elect DeSantis' victory speech:

11:06 p.m.: From the DeSantis event, which has turned into a victory party:

11:03 p.m.: As we await remarks from Gov.-elect DeSantis, it’s worth noting that DeSantis' likely margin in the governor’s race was almost exactly the same as President Trump’s in 2016.

10:57 p.m.: Gillum has taken the stage to announce his concession. Follow @elizabethrkoh for updates on his speech:

10:54 p.m.: Gillum to address the crowd soon:

10:46 p.m.: BREAKING: Gillum has conceded, according to the Republican Governor’s Association

10:39 p.m.: Team DeSantis is annoyed that the AP hasn’t called the race for the Republican, Politico’s Matt Dixon reports:

10:32 p.m.: Here’s where there are still votes to be counted:

10:27 p.m.: Bad times all around on Team Gillum.

10:20 p.m.: Andrew Gillum’s watch party has gone quiet.

10:16 p.m.: A word on polling in the Florida governor’s race compared to what’s happening in the rest of the country:

10:07 p.m.: The national perspective on the night in Florida politics from a writer for the New Yorker.

10:00 p.m.: Nearly all of Broward County is now in. Very difficult — if not impossible — to see where Gillum makes up his one-point deficit.

9:50 p.m.: Nearly two hours after the last Florida polls closed, Gillum is urging voters to stay in line

9:48 p.m.: How Team Gillum is taking tonight’s results:

9:47 p.m.: With almost 95 percent of precincts reporting, DeSantis' lead is almost 100,000 votes. We may see news organizations call this race relatively soon.

9:38 p.m.: A random fun fact as the final results trickle in:

9:30 p.m.: Results!!!!

It looks like DeSantis is closing in on this thing.

With almost 93 percent of precincts reporting:

DeSantis: 49.9 percent

Gillum: 48.8 percent.

DeSantis leads by about 87,000 votes.

9:21 p.m.: Results!!!

With over 85 percent of precincts reporting, DeSantis leads Gillum by some 72,000 votes.

DeSantis: 49.9 percent

Gillum: 48.9 percent

Hard to see where Gillum makes up that margin.

9:11 p.m.: On the votes still to be counted in Broward County, from veteran Democratic strategist Steve Schale:

9:06 p.m.: Andrew Gillum supporters are loving the news that Florida’s Amendment 4 passed.

Check out our Constitutional Amendment live blog here.

8:52 p.m.: Results!!

With 4/5 of the vote counted, DeSantis has opened up a one-point lead on Gillum.

DeSantis: 49.9 percent

Gillum: 48.9 percent

8:45 p.m.: This, from Elizabeth Koh at Andrew Gillum’s election night event:

Around 8:30 p.m., as DeSantis and Scott held narrow leads that appeared to inch outside the margin for a recount, the crowd at Gillum's party, which had swelled to hundreds, nervously watched as MSNBC continued to say both races were still too close to call. They cheered as Democrats in other states were declared winners or seemed to have leads — Gov. Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island who easily won, or Rep. Beto O'Rourke, running against Texas senator Ted Cruz — but when the screens showed early results from the Florida races, the crowd seemed to hold their breath.

A brief chant of "bring it home" broke out after staffer Millie Raphael tried to ease the crowd.

“It’s really close,” she said. “We continue to believe in him, in us, in the power of people.”

8:40 p.m.: With almost 74 percent of precincts reporting, DeSantis is opening up a significant lead:

DeSantis: 50 percent

Gillum: 48.8 percent

8:37 p.m.: This, from the New York Times' Patricia Mazzei:

8:28 p.m.: Here’s the scene at the Andrew Gillum election night party:

8:22 p.m.: Results!!!

With almost 2/3 of precincts in, DeSantis has opened up a 35,000 vote lead on Gillum:

DeSantis: 49.6 percent

Gillum: 49.1 percent

8:14 p.m.: DeSantis takes a narrow lead!!

With just almost 59 percent of precincts reporting, percentages don’t tell the story:

DeSantis: 3,409,663

Gillum: 3,372,402

The reaction from Team DeSantis:

8:11 p.m.: Results!

With just over 45 percent of precincts reporting...

8:00 p.m.: All statewide polls are now closed! Fasten your seatbelts.

7:57 p.m. Results!

With almost 30 percent of statewide precincts reporting:

Gillum: 50.3 percent

DeSantis: 48.5 percent

7:53 p.m. With 90 percent of Pinellas County precincts in, Gillum leads DeSantis by about 2.5 points.

President Trump won Pinellas in 2016.

7:47 p.m.: Here’s the scene at the Andrew Gillum election night party:

7:43 p.m.: Results!

With 14.3 percent of precincts reporting:

Gillum: 50.8 percent

DeSantis: 48 percent

7:38 p.m.: Andrew Gillum is having a good night so far because of counties like Duval, home to Jacksonville, where he’s significantly outperforming Hillary Clinton’s 2016 results:

7:33 p.m.: With just 5.5 percent of precinct reporting:

Gillum: 49.8 percent

DeSantis: 48.9 percent

7:24 p.m.: Gillum is getting plenty of love at Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bill Nelson’s watch party in Orlando, our Claire McNeill reports. (Check out our live U.S. Senate blog here!)

7:18 p.m.: Gillum is up about 170,000 votes on DeSantis in deep-blue Broward county, the Times/Herald’s David Smiley reports. (That’s a lot.)

7:13 p.m.: Hillsborough County, Florida’s fourth-largest, went for Gillum by nine points in early voting:

Gillum: 54.94%

DeSantis: 43.77%

7:10 p.m.: Some preliminary results from Pasco County, which our Adam C. Smith and Langston Taylor outlined as a key county way back in June:

7:04 p.m.: Emily Mahoney has this dispatch from the Ron DeSantis election night event:

6:52 p.m.: Turnout update!!

Pasco County, which supported President Trump over Hillary Clinton by 20+ points in 2016, is sporting a robust 59 percent turnout:

6:47 p.m.: A dispatch from the Andrew Gillum event via our Elizabeth Koh:

Andrew Gillum, in a call back to his college days, is holding his election night watch party outside at Florida A&M University, where organizers had set up fencing throughout the quad and a stage, set up outside Lee Hall, was bathed in blue spotlights.

More than 5,000 RSVP'ed to the event, according to the campaign, though it was unclear as sun set and rain showers started passing through how many of those would show up.

Hiding from the rain under an umbrella outside a student dining hall, senior Vince Williams, 21, said he would reassess whether or not to stay after his evening class wrapped up at 8 p.m.

The weather, he added, would "show who really supports him."

Democrats spent the final weeks of the race optimistically hoping for a blue wave, a different kind of deluge struck before the event opened up to supporters Tuesday evening.

Shortly after 6 p.m., a press tent that had been set up for reporters began to leak, then pour, through the seams, causing members of the media to scramble for their equipment. They were ushered into a dining hall commons with a Chick-fil-A, where some supporters began to strike up a chant of “bring it home, bring it home.”

6:43 p.m.: Turnout update!!

Despite evening rainstorms, Leon County, home of Andrew Gillum, had a staggering turnout of almost two-thirds, reports the Tallahassee Democrat’s Skip Foster:

6:37 p.m.: Turnout update!

The Times/Herald’s David Smiley, who has been one of the primary reporters covering Andrew Gillum, is reporting a potentially massive Election Day turnout in Democratic stronghold counties Broward and Miami-Dade.

6:19 pm: Elizabeth Koh reports that it is now pouring rain inside and outside of the press tent at Andrew Gillum’s election night event.

6:13 p.m.: Emily Mahoney is at the Ron DeSantis election night event in Orlando. Follow her at @mahoneysthename for live updates.

6:11 p.m.: Leon County weather update, via Elizabeth Koh (@elizabethrkoh on Twitter), who is covering the Andrew Gillum election night party for us.

5:56 p.m.: Meanwhile, at Andrew Gillum’s election night party (via the New York Times' Patricia Mazzei)...

Will the poor weather in Andrew Gillum’s home of Leon County wind up hurting the Democrat?

5:48 p.m.: Friendly reminder: if you happen to be in line when polls close at 7 p.m. local time, stay in line! You are still allowed to vote.

5:33 p.m.: Turnout update!!

The GOP continues to have a strong turnout in the Tampa Bay area:

5:15 p.m.: First look at tonight’s Ron DeSantis election night party, via the TImes' Chris Urso.

CHRIS URSO | Times An empty podium is seen while reporters and photographers setup their equipment prior to the watch party for Florida's Republican candidate for Governor Ron DeSantis Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Orlando. DeSantis is facing Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum.

5:01 p.m.: Turnout update!

In the panhandle counties affected by Hurricane Michael, turnout is lagging behind 2014, reports the USA Today Network’s Ana Ceballos.

4:59 p.m.: Washington Post humor columnist Alexandra Petri is all of us.

4:43 p.m.: Turnout update!

It’s shaping up to be a big turnout election all over the state, and Florida’s largest county, Miami-Dade, is no exception, according to the news director of south Florida’s CBS Miami:

4:21 p.m.: Great twitter thread by the Times/Herald’s Samantha J. Gross about the issues that have plagued Florida voters throughout the day Tuesday:

4:10 p.m.: Turnout update!

As of right now, in the bellwether Tampa Bay-area counties (Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough), Republicans lead Democrats in turnout by about 20,000 votes.

447,023 Republicans have voted in those four counties, compared to 426,863 Democrats and 232,150 voters who aren’t affiliated with any party.

4:04 p.m.: While we wait for results and turnout numbers, Times political editor Adam C. Smith has some words on Florida polls:

"Take a moment and consider how extraordinary it is to live in mega state with 13 million voters who over and over and over again deliver elections decided by 1 percentage point.

For those of us too weak to resist looking yet again at all those Florida polls, let’s consider how the polls wound up stacking up to reality in prior neck and neck contests. Very well, it turns out."

3:45 p.m. At least one of Gillum’s Democratic primary rivals, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, will attend Gillum’s election night party in Tallahassee.

3:35 p.m. Turnout update!!

Republicans are having a strong Election Day in key counties — but the biggest Democratic strongholds have yet to report their numbers from today, per Politico’s Matt Dixon.

3:10 p.m.: Some big names are tweeting about the Florida governor’s race today...

2:20 p.m.: Happy Election Day, Florida!

My name is Kirby Wilson and I cover the governor’s race for the Tampa Bay Times. Follow along with me as we track the results in one of the most closely watched races in the country, which pits the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum, against a former Republican Congressman, Ron DeSantis. It’s sure to be a close election.

In this blog, I’ll be providing updates and curating feeds from our team covering the governor’s race, which is spread out across the state. Be sure to check out our other live blog, which is tracking Election Day across Florida.

For instance, our Kathryn Varn is taking the pulse of Pinellas County voters this afternoon. Follow her at @kathrynvarn for updates like these:

And don’t hesitate to reach out to me at or on Twitter at @kirbywtweets if you see something you think we should write about.

Happy voting!


  1. Courtney Wild, 30, was a victim of serial sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein beginning at the age of 14. Epstein paid Wild, and many other underage girls, to give him massages, often having them undress and perform sexual acts. Epstein also used the girls as recruiters, paying them to bring him other underage girls. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
    Courtney Wild’s relentless quest for justice has led to a bipartisan push for sweeping reforms.
  2. Scott Israel, former Broward County Sheriff speaks during a news conference on Sept. 25, in Davie. A Florida Senate official is recommending that the sheriff, suspended over his handling of shootings at a Parkland high school and the Fort Lauderdale airport, should be reinstated. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    Naples lawyer Dudley Goodlette was threatened shortly after he made his recommendation last month.
  3. Rep. Jamie Grant, R- Tampa and Senator Jeff Brandes, R- St. Petersburg listen to Amendment 4 debate in the Florida Senate on Thursday. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “I think some of the points of the judge were well-made," Sen. Jeff Brandes said.
  4. Tiffany Carr — shown during a 2004 visit to a Hollywood nail salon, where she spoke on domestic violence — did not respond this past week to requests from the Miami Herald to address her $761,560 annual salary. She is head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. [Bob Eighmie Miami Herald file photo]
    The Florida Department of Children and Families started a review of a domestic violence nonprofit’s finances last summer after it was reported that its CEO Tiffany Carr was paid $761,000. The state...
  5. Pinellas County teachers and their allies rallied at major intersections in 2012 to protest legislative proposals. [Jim Damaske, Times]
    Details are still scant, but the House’s tone was one of being fiscally cautious as they evaluate DeSantis’ pitch to raise base teacher pay.
  6. Igor Fruman - Lev Parnas Miami Herald
    Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — now subpoenaed to turn over documents in the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump — sought to invest in one of Florida’s state-issued cannabis licenses.
  7. [SKIP O'ROURKE   | Times]
    It’s unclear if there will be any proposed changes to this method for measuring teachers’ impact on their students’ performance, despite complaints.
  8. Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor, announces his education proposals in front of Franklin Middle Magnet School in Tampa last month. He says he wants to reduce "bureaucratic waste and administrative inefficiency" in Florida schools. But many educators say their budgets are already cut to the bone. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
    DeSantis said Wednesday he will call for expanding state oversight of septic tanks, developing better oversight of wastewater and stormwater systems and requiring the state to track agricultural...
  9. In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, file photo, a woman using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File) TONY DEJAK  |  AP
    “We’re looking at it, we’re going to be thorough in our investigation, and we will hold accountable any companies that are intentionally targeting and misleading our youth regarding vaping products,”...
  10. From left to right: Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas, President Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani. Miami Herald
    David Correia, who worked with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, is now in federal custody and will be arraigned Thursday before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan federal cour