Gillum, who was trying to become the state's first black governor, told a crowd gathered on the campus of Florida A&M University, "I sincerely regret I couldn't bring it home for you". Bill Nelson in his Senate race against Gov. Rick Scott. FiveThirtyEight predictions had showed Gillum 4.2 percent ahead of DeSantis on Election Day. Gillum delivered a concession speech shortly before 11 p.m.
DeSantis, after voting in Ponte Vedra Beach, told reporters: "We did as much as can be done and I'm happy".
DeSantis called Gillum a "committed leftist ideologue".
From the beginning of his campaign, DeSantis, a lawyer and former congressman, tied his electoral chances to Trump, using frequent appearances on the Fox News network to defend the president and his policies. Gillum called himself "the most unapologetically progressive" candidate in the five-candidate Democratic field and staked out some positions beyond the reach of state government, such as his call for Trump's impeachment or his endorsement of Sanders' "Medicare for all" plan.
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But DeSantis, who stepped down from his Northeast Florida congressional seat in September, said "a lot of our super voters have yet to vote", referring to loyal Republicans who have voted in the last three or four elections.
In one final twist, DeSantis, who throughout the campaign portrayed Tallahassee as crime-ridden and unsafe, will now be moving their to do his new job - right alongside the city's mayor, (still) Andrew Gillum.
This race was supposed to be a blueprint for how Democrats could pull left on economics and cultural issues and win in swing states.
If Gillum wins, he will be the first Democratic governor elected by Floridians in 20 years.
"My most significant and valued supporter is standing right next to me, despite what the media might say", DeSantis said of his wife Casey.
The documents showed that an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent posing as a developer had given Gillum a ticket to the Broadway show "Hamilton" and had accompanied him on boat tour by the Statue of Liberty during a 2016 trip to NY.