Please see our brief update on the results of the 2018 Midterm Election in the state and U.S. Congress.
As you all probably know, the 2018 midterm elections have resulted in a split U.S. Congress – with the House now controlled by the Democrats and the Senate remaining under the control of the Republican party. At this time, we do not expect many changes to the Senate leadership, and it remains unclear whether Congresswoman Pelosi will become House Speaker.
The Florida Delegation remains split, and the Democrats gained two (2) seats in South Florida – there are now 14 Republicans and 13 Democrats. Most of the incumbents won re-election in the House, with the lone exception of Carlos Curbelo losing to Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in District 26 (Miami). The Democrats also picked up the seat in District 27 (Miami) that was held by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – Donna Shalala won that seat.
With respect to other open seats – Michael Waltz won the seat (District 6 – St. Augustine) left open by now Governor DeSantis; Ross Spano won the seat (District 15 – Lakeland) left open by Congressman Dennis Ross; and Greg Steube won the seat (District 17 – Punta Gorda) left open by Congressman Tom Rooney.
As you all know, Chairman Shuster has retired (will be replaced by Republican Dan Meuser). Given the flip of the U.S. House to Democrat Party control, the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee should become the current Ranking Member – Peter DeFazio from Oregon.
With respect to the Senate, Governor Rick Scott should win the race against Senator Bill Nelson — there will be a mandatory recount since the margin is less than .5% (34,435 votes). Given Governor Scott’s interest in economic development and maritime issues, we are hopeful that he will request membership on the Commerce or Environment and Public Works committees.
The Republican Party maintained control over the Florida Cabinet with election wins by all of the Republicans seeking the open seats. Ron DeSantis won the Governor’s race by 49.73% to 49.05 percent. Ashley Moody won the Attorney General’s race by 52.26% to 45.95%. Jimmy Patronis won the Chief Financial Officer’s race by 51.89% to 48.11%. And Matt Caldwell won the Commissioner of Agriculture’s race by 50.11% to 49.89% — since this race also was won by a margin less than .5% (12,399 votes), a mandatory recount will also be conducted on this race.
Much like the last election cycle in 2016, there were no significant changes to the control of the Florida Legislature by the Republican Party. Organizational Session is set for November 20th, and the first interim committee meetings will begin on December 11th.
No significant surprises in the House races, and Speaker Oliva will preside over a significant Republican majority. Speaker Oliva has not announced any of his priorities or leadership assignments to date.
The one significant change in the Florida Senate is former Democratic House Leader Janet Cruz defeating Senator Dana Young in Senate District 18 (Tampa). That race will also require a mandatory recount since the final vote tally was 50.07% to 49.93% (289 votes).President Galvano will preside over a 23 to 17 Republican majority. President Galvano has not announced any of his priorities or leadership assignments to date.
We are pleased to report that the former House Chairman of the House Appropriation Committee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development – Ed Hooper — won Senate District 16 (St. Petersburg). Senator-Elect Hooper was a significant supporter of seaport funding while he was in the House.