Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis’ plan to attract Hispanic voters by painting his opponent as a socialist doesn’t seem to have taken hold.
DeSantis, a former congressman, is trailing his Democratic opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and one of the chief reasons is health care.
It’s a pivotal issue in a state where people of color, Hispanic people in particular, account for the bulk of the state’s uninsured residents. Hispanics also make up a quarter of the state’s population, and they’re more likely to be registered Democrats or unaffiliated with a major party, than registered Republicans.
Capturing these voters could decide whether Gillum wins the seat being vacated by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is termed limited out. A poll released last showed Gillum is leading among independent voters, and among Hispanic voters by 63 to 24 percent. And although President Trump carried Florida, the poll gave Gillum a narrow lead over DeSantis.
Gillum is making a pitch to win over voters in a state where millions lack health coverage. “I believe in a state where health care is treated as a right and not a privilege,” said Gillum, addressing a cheering crowd at an election rally in Orlando last month. “I believe we deserve a state where people don’t have to be terrified of getting sick.”
Gillum would be the Sunshine State’s first Black governor. He’s poised to reshape health care in a state with one of the worst uninsured rates in the United States, while many Democrats running for state legislative seats run on expanding Medicaid access.
Health care is a key issue in the state. While Florida’s uninsured rate has fallen from a high of 20 percent to about 13