The head of a Florida-based pro-family organization says he is thrilled that Republicans secured two big wins in the critical battleground state despite days of voting chaos and controversy.
After nearly two weeks of challenges and a statewide recount, both Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum realized they were coming up short in vote counts, and both conceded defeat over the weekend.
That means Republican Ron DeSantis will take the oath of office as Florida's next governor in January and Rick Scott, the current governor (above right), will move into a U.S. Senate office next year after unseating the Democratic incumbent, Senator Bill Nelson (above left).
Florida has become synonymous with ballot problems dating back to 2000, and Republicans and Democrats traded accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression in two Democrat-led counties, Broward and Palm Beach.
David Caton, president of the Florida Family Association, says he was "thrilled" with the GOP wins in which the vote tallies remained mostly the same despite the controversy.
"This really came down to voter turnout," he observes, "and it was showing that Republican turnout and early voting was the highest it had been in several elections."
GOP turnout was six percent ahead of Democrat voters, he adds.
Then-candidate Donald Trump narrowly won Florida's pivotal 29 electoral votes in 2016 by a percentage point, or approximately 112,900 votes.
Gov. Scott defeated Sen. Nelson, a longtime politician and two-term U.S. senator, by about 10,000 votes of 8 million that were cast, The Associated Press reported.
Looking ahead, Caton says the double GOP victories bode well for President Trump heading into 2020, where he will need Florida to secure his reelection.
"We're optimistic in Florida --- absolutely," Caton says.