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"But I think he's got another thing coming to him if he thinks that, in today's day of age, Florida voters are going to respond to that level of derision and division".

"They're going to be looking for a governor who is going to appeal to our higher aspirations as a state", he said, "who's going to talk about what it means to build a Florida that makes room for all of us and not just some of us".

"I heard 'articulate, ' 'performs well, '" Mr. Steele said about other word choices. He will also be running against Donald Trump, whose over-the-top enthusiasm for his Florida acolyte was on display Tuesday night, as the president tweeted: "Such a fantastic win for Ron DeSantis and the people of the Great State of Florida".

Also in Tuesday's primary, Republicans nominated Gov. Doug Ducey for a second term and Democrats selected education professor David Garcia to challenge him.

An anti-establishment Republican backed by Donald Trump and a black Democrat endorsed by Bernie Sanders will face each other in Florida's gubernatorial election in November.

DeSantis' comment sparked an immediate outcry and an apology from the Fox News host.

"Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace" Gillum's policies, Lawson said in a statement.

Rep. Martha McSally (R., Ariz.) embraced Trump on the campaign trail to win the Arizona U.S. Senate Republican primary and easily beat challengers from the hard right who had engendered considerable controversy: Sheriff Joe Arpaio and State Senator Kelli Ward.

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No one imagines that Gillum will have an easy time of it in Florida, a politically-volatile battleground state where Republicans won the 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial races. The super PAC was responsible for attacks on Graham that labeled her as too much like a Republican to be acceptable to Democrats. "That's not going to be good for Florida".

What changed the race was President Donald Trump's tweeted endorsement of DeSantis, who has been one of the president's most vocal supporters in Congress.

Florida Democrats accused DeSantis of deploying "racist dog whistles".

Stephen Lawson, communications director for the DeSantis campaign, said it was "absurd" to call DeSantis' comments racist.

Democratic consultant Dick Batchelor, however, cautioned about a strategy that doesn't go beyond rallying progressive supporters.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democratic primary for Florida governor Tuesday, pulling off an upset against better funded and better known candidates on his quest to become the state's first black governor.

"I'm not going to get down in the gutter with DeSantis and Trump". On Twitter earlier on Wednesday, the president slammed Gillum as a "failed" mayor, without citing examples. "Ron DeSantis voted for Trump's tax giveaway to the wealthy, supported Trump's plan to take away health care from millions of Floridians, and seems more interested in defending Trump from a Washington television studio than improving the lives of Florida families".