With the midterms quickly approaching on Tuesday, Nov. 8, there are many issues at stake. In Florida, there are two main elections that voters are focused on: the races for governor and U.S. senate.
In the governor’s race, incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is challenged by former governor and current Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist. In the senate race, Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio is challenged by Democratic Rep. Val Demings.
With the election less than one week away, it is important to understand each candidate’s platform. Below are the four main issues on the line in this election.
Governor: DeSantis is focused on providing tax relief, investing in rural communities, strengthening workforce education, vetoing tax increases, and demanding more research money from the federal government. Crist is focused on the housing crisis and upending the system which regulates utilities. Crist’s platform, “Affordable Florida for All” promotes accessible internet for all and decreased car insurance rates. However, he has not been clear about where the money for this program will originate.
Senate: Rubio voted against President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act under the premise that he believes it will worsen inflation and create a tax hike for many Americans. Rubio does not support raising the minimum wage, believing it will destroy the economy. Rubio is also a strong supporter of limiting federal spending. Demings is an ardent supporter of the Inflation Reduction Act and has also voted for bills to deliver COVID relief. Demings has supported increases in taxes and supports raising the minimum wage in Florida.
Governor: DeSantis has banned sanctuary cities, helped border states such as Texas and Arizona and condemned the drug trafficking that occurs over the U.S.-Mexico border. Specifically, the governor has increased the sentence for trafficking fentanyl and added methamphetamine to the list of drugs eligible for life in prison. Crist outwardly denounced DeSantis’s decision to fly immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, calling it inhumane. Crist voted for a bill that provided funding for a southern border wall, and he is also a strong proponent of the reunification of families.
Senate: Rubio has backed most of DeSantis’s immigration stances. Since Rubio’s parents were Cuban immigrants that fled to the U.S., this issue is very significant to the senator. Rubio has called for a greater border presence, more funding for the border and increased punishments for crimes related to the border. Similarly, Demings has called for a more systematic and orderly border, claiming the treatment of immigrants is extremely disdainful. Demings calls for a need to hire more processors as well as “boots on the ground.”
WOMEN’S HEALTH AND REPRODUCTION:
Governor: DeSantis has publicly stated that he has a 100% pro-life record. DeSantis recently heralded and signed HB 5, a bill to ban abortions 15 weeks after conception with no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. On the other hand, Crist’s platform advocates for a woman’s right to an abortion, claiming that it is a woman’s right to choose their fate. Crist may personally appear to have pro-life views, but politically he supports the pro-choice movement.
Senate: Rubio is pro-life, but his position differs from that of DeSantis in that Rubio claimed in the senate debate that he supports a 15-week ban, but with exceptions for rape, incest and human trafficking. Contrastingly, Demings has worked to codify the tenets of Roe v. Wade into law. Demings believes there is no room for the government when a woman makes a decision about her health. She is pro-choice and believes in a woman’s right to choose.
Governor: DeSantis is committed to backing law enforcement and first responders. DeSantis’s policies have allowed for a $5,000 signing bonus for new officers as well as a 15% pay increase. DeSantis has also repeatedly stressed the need for law and order. Crist has supported policies to reallocate funds from police departments, and hire more social workers to respond to nonviolent calls. Furthermore, Crist believes that former felons should have the right to vote.
Senate: Rubio has sponsored various bills backing law enforcement, specifically to provide resources for law enforcement and to ensure criminals are kept behind bars. Rubio has also called on the White House and Congress to combat the rise of violent crime. Demings worked in law enforcement for 27 years, culminating in her role as the first female chief of the Orlando Police Department. She has also supported increasing funding to police departments and made this issue a centerpiece of her campaign.
These issues and many more are crucial to understand before showing up to the polls. It is extremely important to make an educated decision when it comes to voting — and a single vote can not only impact the trajectory of these consequential issues, but change people’s lives and the future of Florida.
On Election Day this Tuesday, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more, visit the Florida Department of State’s website.
Check out other recent articles from the Florida Political Review here.
Featured Image: A vote sign at a polling location in Orlando, FL. Unmodified photo from Wikimedia Commons used under a Creative Commons License (https://bit.ly/3FHxgri)