Red wave in Sunshine State? GOP winners in Florida House races share how they won major Republican victories.
Three Republicans who won Florida congressional races helped turn the Sunshine State’s map red after the November 2022 midterm elections Tuesday, and victors say it should be a model for the GOP across the country.
Laurel Lee, who won Florida’s 15th Congressional District, defeating Democratic nominee Alan Cohn for the open seat, credits GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis for “the incredible coalition of voter support, Republicans up and down the ballot” she told Fox News Digital.
“Our voters in Florida were focused on a strong economy, energy independence, safe communities. And these are things that really brought a very broad cross-section of Floridians to support Republicans,” she added.
Anna Paulina Luna succeeded in flipping Florida’s 13th Congressional District red, the seat Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist left in order to challenge DeSantis for governor.
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The congresswoman-elect told Fox News Digital that new residents are to credit for the red wave in Florida.
“A lot of people moved to the state of Florida because we kept our economy open during COVID-19, those people are the new voters that you saw … flipping the state,” said Luna.
Congressman-elect Cory Mills, who won Florida’s 7th Congressional District, told Fox News Digital, “Florida’s model should serve as the go-to gold standard.”
He credits GOP wins in the state to voters wanting strong leadership, and says Republicans “need to stop with this centralized congressional drive and start going to a more decentralized state-by-state messaging, and state-by-state leadership.”
In a White House press conference following the midterm elections, President Biden said the red wave “didn’t happen” and that voters cast ballots to “preserve democracy” and “to protect the right to choose in this country.”
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“I took the opportunity to just inform voters that the issues of abortions are not a federal issue. It’s a state’s rights decision. I think that when voters understood the difference, they were less inclined to listen to those attack ads from the Democrats and more inclined to listen to my messaging on the economy,” said Luna.
Luna said she had ignored the noise and focused on issues that directly impact Floridians, mainly fixing the economy.
“I was talking about what was happening with gas prices and the cost of eggs in Publix, which is one of our biggest grocery stores here in Florida.”
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Congressman-elect Mills says he “didn’t really see [abortion] play top priority, especially when people were having to think about things like their gas tank or . . . grocery cart.”
All three newly elected House members say their top priority when sworn in will be tackling inflation and fixing the economy.
Fox News Voter Analysis found key changes that generally favored Republicans. Voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the country. Abortion, immigration and climate change formed a distant second tier, with crime (8%), health care (7%), and gun policy (6%) not far behind.
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Representative-elect Lee served as former secretary of state in Florida and as a judge, and said she knows the impact of an unsecured border.
“I’ve seen firsthand how important it is that we maintain a secure border, because it is not just people who come across, but they bring with them that human trafficking,” Lee said. “There are all kinds of criminal behavior that we are vulnerable to when we are not carefully controlling entry at our southern border.”
Republicans plan to hold their leadership elections in the third week of November.
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So far, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has been the only member to toss his hat in the ring.
“I think Kevin McCarthy would be an outstanding speaker of the House. I think he is ready for this and a proven leader. I’m confident that we are going to see him take that gavel here in the near future,” shared Lee.
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Mills said he is curious to see whether other candidates throw their name in and says he “really want[s] to continue to do postmortem analysis [to see] how did we not have the red wave that we had predicted.”
The full House will vote for speaker when the new Congress convenes for the first time on Jan. 3.