November 28, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Amid Republican wins in the US home races in Florida, Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost became the first member of Generation Z to win a seat in Congress.

As of Tuesday night, most of Florida’s races for the U.S. House of Representatives had gone as expected, including Republican Anna Paulina Luna’s win over Democrat Eric Lynn in the 13th District, a St. Petersburg-based district formerly represented by Democrat Charlie Crist became .

The Republicans were on course to extend their dominance over the US House delegation from Florida, where the GOP-led administration drew new county lines in their party’s favour.

But Frost, a 25-year-old gun reform and social justice activist, had an easy win in a strong blue Orlando-area district that was abandoned by Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who lost her challenge to Senator Marco Rubio.

Frost is a former March For Our Lives organizer who has advocated for stricter gun control laws and has spoken out against restrictions on abortion rights. Gen Z generally refers to those born between the late 1990s and early 2010s. To become a member of Congress, candidates must be at least 25 years old.

Frost is among at least six newcomers to the US House of Representatives in Tuesday’s vote from Florida, as Republicans took advantage of an aggressively redrawn congressional map led by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

After the 2020 census, DeSantis had ordered the GOP-controlled legislature to pass a map aimed at maximizing Republican gains — vetoing the original GOP-backed map that gave two seats to blacks Democratic congressmen left largely intact.

Heading into this election year, Republicans held 16 seats and Florida Democrats held 11 in the House of Representatives. Florida gains a 28th seat due to population growth.

In one of the marquee races, Republican Neal Dunn defeated Democrat Al Lawson in a North Florida incumbent battle. Lawson’s black-majority district was abolished by the Republican-led Legislature, which passed a DeSantis-driven congressional map, prompting a lawsuit alleging unconstitutional racial gerrymandering.

The new Florida House members will come from six open seats, including the 13th Ward, which was won by Luna after she lost to Crist in 2020.

Additionally, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy chose not to run for re-election after her newly drawn Central Florida district, resulting in a victory for Republican Cory Mills that marks a move to the GOP. And in South Florida, Democrat Ted Deutch’s resignation paved the way for fellow Democrat Jared Moskowitz to win the seat, which includes the high school where Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people in 2018.

A truly open seat, with no incumbent involved, was the 15th Circuit in the Tampa area, where Republican Laurel Lee — a former Florida Secretary of State — defeated Democrat Alan Cohn, a former investigative journalist.

Among the single-incumbent races, the Miami-area 27th district was the most fiercely contested and had a history of back-and-forth switching between Democrats and Republicans.

In that race, Democratic State Sen. Annette Taddeo lost to first-term Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar and retained the seat in the GOP group.

Otherwise, Florida’s incumbent members of the US House of Representatives will return to Washington.

They include Republican Matt Gaetz, a top supporter of former President Donald Trump who is being investigated in a federal sex trafficking case; Democrat Kathy Castor in a seat in Tampa; Republican Vern Buchanan, who may chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee in a GOP-led House; Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee; and Dean of the State Delegation and Republican Mario Diaz-Balart, first elected in 2002.

One incumbent had no opposition Tuesday: GOP Rep. John Rutherford, a former Duval County sheriff, had already won another term in North Florida’s 5th Circuit.

The economy is weighing heavily on the minds of Florida voters. According to AP VoteCast, a comprehensive poll of more than 3,200 Florida voters, three-fourths of them believe things are going in the wrong direction in the country. Around half rank the economy and jobs as the country’s most important problems.

Almost 8 out of 10 voters say the country’s economy is not so good or bad. When looking at their own family’s financial situation, about half describe them as stable, while nearly 4 in 10 say they are falling behind. However, 6 in 10 voters say they are confident they can keep up with their spending and find a good job if needed.

For a majority, inflation is the most important factor in the election.

Meanwhile, nearly 7 in 10 voters say the US Supreme Court’s decision to rule on Roe v. Wade to have an abortion is an important factor in the election.


Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections.

And follow AP’s election coverage of the 2022 election at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

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