FLORIDA — Democrat Joe Biden is projected to become the next United States president after besting incumbent Republican Pres. Donald J. Trump in Pennsylvania, based on unofficial election results. Biden won 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania, giving him more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
Florida’s political leaders, organizations and voters have mixed reactions to the news that Biden will become the 46h U.S. president. The Associated Press and other news organizations projected Biden as the winner Saturday morning.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo congratulated Biden on his win.
“Today we celebrate the start of a new chapter for our country. We saw record-breaking vote totals with Joe Biden winning more votes than any president in history,” she said in a statement. “Today’s win was a victory for America and a victory for the millions of volunteers who gave their time, their heart and their soul to secure this outcome, and we thank them for their commitment to elect leadership that will build America back better.”
Rizzo also acknowledged “the brilliant Kamala Harris,” Biden’s running mate, making history as the first woman, Black and Southeast Asian vice president.
She added, “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will work tirelessly to improve the lives of every single American. Their inclusive, clear-eyed leadership is precisely what we need to restore the soul of this nation.”
Democrat Charlie Crist, the U.S. representative for Florida’s 13th congressional district, congratulated Biden and Harris on Twitter.
“This was a hard-fought race during extraordinary times,” he tweeted. “We’ve a lot of work to do in the months ahead. We’ll do it on behalf of all Americans. It’s time for our nation to come together. United we stand!”
Miami-Dade County’s mayor-elect, Democrat Danielle Levine Cava, also took to Twitter to congratulate the new president and vice president.
“I am confident that they will lead us through this incredibly difficult time by confronting and working to control the threat of coronavirus, and rebuild our economy stronger than before,” she tweeted on Saturday. “After a long and contested election season, now is the time to come together as a community and country, and I look forward to working with the Biden administration on solutions and critical resources that will help Miami-Dade’s families and businesses overcome this crisis.”
She also said that Harris will serve as a role model for many “and will blaze a path for millions of girls who for the very first time will see a woman occupy our nation’s second highest post.”
Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the U.S representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district, was also excited by the news.
“(Biden) and Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris will now start the difficult work of healing a divided nation and pulling our country out of this painful health and economic crisis,” she tweeted on Saturday. “I am inspired that a clear majority of voters saw promise in a Biden administration, and I am very eager to work with them as they act on the strength of their mandate from the American people.”
While all votes must still be counted, a clear electoral college majority has been achieved by @JoeBiden, who will be our next President of the United States. #PresidentElectJoe (1/4) https://t.co/k7Gph1ZzHK
— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) November 7, 2020
Meanwhile, Republican leaders in the state continue to back Trump, who insisted on Twitter Saturday morning that he “won this election, by a lot.” Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said that the president wouldn’t concede the race and vowed that his campaign would challenge the results in Pennsylvania and other key states.
Republican Matt Gaetz, the U.S. representative for Florida’s 1st congressional district, tweeted Saturday, “Some Republicans are ready to throw in the towel now and fight for a future election. There is no future for the Republican Party if we do not stand and fight for @realDonaldTrump in this critical moment.”
Some Republicans are ready to throw in the towel now and fight for a future election.There is no future for the Republican Party if we do not stand and fight for @realDonaldTrump in this critical moment. pic.twitter.com/XKUDXCthQJ
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 7, 2020
Republican Sen. Rick Scott tweeted Saturday afternoon, “It seems that the Democrats in many states fear transparency and openness for the vote counting process. Why is that? Do they have something to hide? @realDonaldTrump is right to keep fighting to make sure every LEGAL vote is counted.”
He also said the voting system needs improvement and touted a bill he introduced that would require all ballots be counted within 24 hours of Election Day.
Though Republican Sen. Marco Rubio hasn’t commented on Biden’s win yet, he did tweet about the process of tallying votes in this election.
“Faith in our election is as important as the outcome,” he tweeted Friday. “Preserving it requires not allowing the outcome to be decided by either the media or a candidate. Transparently count every legally cast vote (and) allow courts to decide claims of irregularities or fraud on the basis of evidence.”
The Florida GOP also hasn’t commented on Twitter about Biden’s win, yet, but the group retweeted a post by Ronna McDaniel, the national GOP chairwoman, in which she said, “The media doesn’t decide who wins elections, voters do. In multiple states the margins are razor thin with counting ongoing, several of which are headed for recounts.”
The Florida GOP has not responded to Patch’s request for comments.
Voters and non-partisan groups also reacted to the news of a Biden presidency.
First-time voter Maddie Butler, 24, of Safety Harbor, said she is “excited” about Biden’s win, but also “very anxious because there is a lot of work to be done. Regardless of either side you’re on, there is a woman in office and not only that, she is a woman of color. This is revolutionary and should be celebrated. This is a big accomplishment and something to look forward to in future elections for either side.”
Linsey Grove, president of The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area, a nonpartisan organization, said the LWV and its partners “worked tirelessly to register and educate voters, provide election and voter resources as poll monitors, and produce our nonpartisan Voter Guide this election season. We are proud to see the very democracy we are charged to defend prevail as we witnessed record voter turnout in many underrepresented communities and thousands of volunteers serve as poll workers. There is still a lot of work to do, but we stand ready to partner and collaborate to continue empowering voters and defending democracy."