Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the South Florida conservatives from Cuba who won reelection

South Florida Makes History, Kickstarts Conservative Legacy

On Nov. 8, the Republican Party didn’t get the red wave they were hoping for across the country. In the free state of Florida, however, there was a red tsunami. It was in part thanks to South Florida. 

Cuban-American Republicans Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Mario Díaz-Balart, Maria Elvira-Salazar and Carlos Gimenez all handedly won reelection. Their steadfast leadership alongside that of Gov. Ron DeSantis resulted in the flipping of Miami-Dade County red for the first time in decades. This marked an anticipated shift by freedom-loving Hispanics whose families escaped from oppressive regimes.  

DeSantis thanked Miami-Dade County voters during his victory speech. After confirming that “freedom is here to stay,” DeSantis supporters erupted into chants of “USA” and “2 more years,” to which DeSantis smiled. It has practically become unquestionable that he’s eyeing the White House in 2024. Voters across the country also showed that they’re continuing to move away from former President Donald Trump. 

Hopefully DeSantis’s recent disassociation with the likes of Trump means that he will emerge as the new GOP leader without Trump’s influence. 

Rubio, a south Florida native born to immigrant parents, beat Democratic challenger Rep. Val Demings, despite being heavily outraised. His ground game, debate performance, and rapport with Florida voters propelled him to a double-digit victory and third term in the U.S. Senate. 

Nonetheless, DeSantis winning Miami-Dade by almost 12 points and Rubio by almost 10 shows a gargantuan shift in Florida politics. Hispanics, mainly from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Colombia, are rejecting the policies of the Democratic Party and embracing those of the GOP. They don’t want to see any resemblance in policies from the very countries they came from in search of a better life. 

GOP campaigns and organizations have pounded the pavement for years to let South Florida residents know they’re not at a crossroads — they’re united. It has finally paid off. It seems like the newly minted red state of Florida and red counties of South Florida are here to stay for years to come. 

South Florida understands the rewards that come with fulfilling the American Dream when people like Gimenez and former Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Díaz-Balart go from Cuba to Congress. People like Rubio, Elvira-Salazar and Mario Díaz-Balart went from Cuba to Congress after just one generation. 

Only in America can a melting pot of a county rewrite political landscapes. Florida voters see a bright path forward with sensible, conservative leadership. 

Check out other recent articles from the Florida Political Review here.

Featured image: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio speaking at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Leadership Series luncheon in Phoenix, Arizona. Unmodified photo by Gage Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license. (

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