ORLANDO, Fla. — During the 2018 midterm elections, many candidates targeted the Hispanic vote, believing Latinos had the power to shake races up.
- More than 2 million Hispanics registered to vote this year
- Parties recognize Hispanic vote will only grow in Florida
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However, Spectrum News’s Decision 2018 exit poll did not reflect such an outcome in this year's midterm elections when it comes to the governor's and senate race in Florida.
Here's how it all broke down: Numbers from Florida's Division of Elections show more than 2 million Hispanics registered to vote this year, 24 percent belonging to the Democratic Party while 15 percent belonged to the Republican Party.
Candidates on both sides tried to win the Latino vote.
"The results of so many races were so close that you have to open up your message to everybody, regardless of which language they speak, where they come from, or what their circumstances are,” said political analyst Frank Torres.
Even though gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum attracted the majority of the Latino vote with 56 percent, according to our Decision 2018 exit poll, it wasn't enough. Republican Ron DeSantis claimed victory in Florida's gubernatorial race, with only 42 percent of support from Hispanic voters.
Torres said it all goes back to President Donald Trump.
"A lot of Hispanics sort of feel like they're on the outside of the Donald Trump message. I don't think a lot have been able to connect with the president the way the White House would want them to,” he said.
U.S. SENATE RACE
The race for the Florida U.S. Senate seat shows a similar story. Our poll showing the Latino vote was not enough to push Democratic candidate Bill Nelson over the top, with Republican Rick Scott declaring victory. Nelson received 55 percent of Hispanic support from Democrats, while Scott got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote.
Still, both parties are aware that the Hispanic vote will only continue to grow in Florida.
"… One interesting that you're seeing each election cycle is the candidates themselves are speaking Spanish, even though it's not their first language. They're attempting to make that connection with Hispanic voters, and whether the language or the delivery is perfect or not, it's still endearing and a way to connect with Hispanic voters,” Torres said.
A large amount of Hispanic voters registered under ‘No Party Affiliation’ this election cycle.