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In year of Democratic hopes, GOP comes out on top in Florida

This combination of November 2018 photo shows Andrew Gillum, left, the Democratic candidate for governor, and Republican candidate Ron DeSantis. On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, Gillum ended his hard-fought campaign, just hours before counties must turn in their official results following days of recounting ballots.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — This was the year Florida’s Democrats spoke ambitiously of ending their 20-year journey in political exile in this battleground state. Instead, election results after a tense and bruising recount showed Republicans coming out on top for governor and even picking up a U.S. Senate seat.

After the recount stretched on for nearly two weeks, top Democratic candidates in the state came agonizingly close but fell short of their stated goal.

Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum conceded Saturday, followed by three-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson a day later. More than 8 million voters weighed in — a far higher turnout than in past midterm elections — with razor-thin results in two of the nation’s most-watched midterm elections.

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