One of the early prizes of Election Night, Florida, was called for President Donald Trump over Democratic challenger Joe Biden, securing the president 29 crucial electoral votes.
Decision Desk, a team of news organization experts, called the race for the Sunshine State at around 8:11 p.m. ET.
While some pundits proclaimed Florida was in play for Biden, his campaign had a more optimistic tone.
“We feel really, really good about where we stand in Florida,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said on a call with reporters earlier in the day. He acknowledged that mail-in voting trended heavily toward Democrats, but noted that in 2016, Trump ultimately won in the end.
“They will indicate the victory that we very much expect tonight,” Stepien said.
Stepien credited the win with Trump’s campaign reaching out to new potential voters, including the sizable Cuban, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Puerto Rican communities in the state.
Decision Desk HQ Projects Trump (R) Has Won The State Of Florida And Its 29 Electoral Votes
Race Called At 11-03 08:11 EST
All Results: https://t.co/6GfosqGUrH
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 4, 2020
“This is something the president had instructed us to do pretty early in the campaign,” senior adviser Jason Miller said, according to Fox News. “What we’re seeing with the Cuban-American community, Colombian-American community, Venezuelan-American community in south Florida is nothing short of spectacular,” Miller added. “There is so much energy.”
“We think we are better positioned in that type of campaign. We are executing the plan we’ve been building for four years,” Stepien said. “Conversely, you see the Biden campaign doing emergency trips to Philadelphia, Scranton, and Detroit—they are alarmed and concerned about turnout.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote on Twitter that Florida’s GOP’s participation rate is of “historic proportions.”
Earlier in the day, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, predicted that Trump would achieve victory in the state, saying the result should be known by the end of Tuesday night.
“What we’re looking at going into Election Day is Democrats have a little bit more than a 100,000 ballot advantage,” DeSantis said on a podcast Tuesday.
“I think that puts Trump in a good position, because we have a couple hundred thousand more super voters who haven’t voted and we know will vote on Election Day. So I think the turnout on Election Day is going to decisively favor the president. My sense is that the Democrats probably didn’t stockpile the number of votes that they needed to in this early voting period, and I think their Election Day turnout is gonna lag, partially because of the COVID fears, and I think that the Election Day turnout for Republicans will surge.”