Express Lane: Democrats make late gains, but is it too little, too late?, Trump v DeSantis, looking back at 1982 for clues about 2022, Storm Nicole.

After almost two weeks of unhindered GOP gains across the state, a mini-surge of Democratic early and vote-by-mail ballots trickled in across the state after about 4 pm Saturday. The Democratic trend continued Sunday to the point where our Dave Trotter’s Nowcast model, is currently showing the Democrats likely entering Election Day in a strong position statewide than they entered the weekend. It may not make a difference in the contests for governor or cabinet, but it is possible this mini-surge, which was concentrated in urban counties – Duval, Broward, Hillsborough and yes, even Miami-Dade (where the GOP still does hold an overall lead) could save the likes of Janet Cruz and Janelle Perez. It also likely means the GOP hope of mammoth upsets against Jared Moskowitz and Tina Polsky (something our Kartik Krishnaiyer who lives in both districts thought was possible last week) are off-the-table.

The national media has suddenly begun focusing on a potential Donald Trump v Ron DeSantis GOP Presidential Primary campaign in the last week. Trump’s “Ron DeSanctimonious” line went over pretty big in the chattering classes. While others like Kari Lake, Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, the drama seems to be around the two potential candidates that call Florida home. Something missing thus far in the analysis is that DeSantis remains a creature of instinct – genuinely distrustful of polls, data and political consultants, he does things by feel and instinct. In addition he, also has an unhealthy ability to repeat almost verbatim what is on the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page or the front page of The New York Post. How will this stand up against Trump’s bullying and name-calling? It’s anyone’s guess right now.

The 1982 Election in Florida saw Governor Bob Graham reelected statewide by 30 points, the Democrats gain 5 State Senate seats (going from 27 to 32 in the 40 seat chamber, and effectively swinging control from conservative Dempsey Barron-type Democrats that often sided with the GOP, to liberals who were more aligned with the House Democrats) and Lawton Chiles crush the GOP US Senate nominee, the highly thought of Van Poole, by close to 30 points. The common thread between that election and this, is that you had a popular governor running for reelection, an unpopular president and a US Senator from Florida running for a third term. The GOP can only hope it goes as well for them tomorrow, as it did for the Democrats in 1982.

We’re going to be shifting into dual, election and Nicole mode immediately. The National Hurricane Center had issued a Hurricane Watch for Brevard, Indian River, St Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach and Broward counties regarding subTropical (at the moment) Storm Nicole. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for the rest of the Florida east coast.

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