Floridians who supported Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are celebrating

In the early hours of Nov. 4, news networks announced that President Donald Trump had won Florida, capturing 29 electoral votes. Democrats were glum —but no more.

Floridians who supported former vice president Joe Biden and his running mate Kamela Harris are celebrating Saturday, now that Biden is victorious following days of vote counts — the Associated Press reported that Biden had gained enough votes to win the electoral college.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo said in a statement:

“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. 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….

“Kamala Harris will be both the first woman and the first Black and Southeast Asian Vice President,” Rizzo noted.

She also added: “We have much work to do, as a nation and as a state, but Joe Biden has never given up when things are difficult, and neither will we. Along with all Florida Democrats, I cannot wait for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be sworn in as the next President and Vice President of the United States.”

Various advocacy and grassroots groups called on President Donald Trump to concede “and guarantee a peaceful transition of power,” according to a press release by Florida for All, a coalition of progressive organizations.

Even some top Republicans congratulated Biden.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations to President-elect Biden. I have prayed for our President most of my adult life. I will be praying for you and your success. Now is the time to heal deep wounds. Many are counting on you to lead the way.”

Meanwhile, celebrations are springing up across the state, with outdoor festivities and indoor Zoom events including Broward, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Seminole, Orange, Duval and Escambia.

“In downtown Miami and Brickell, the clanging of pots and pans started right away, echoing through the city’s bluer urban core,” the Miami Herald wrote.

And in the state capital, residents celebrated at a Tallahassee gas station,  honking, yelling and waving a Biden sign, wrote the Tallahassee Democrat.

There were no emails to the news media yet from the Republican “Trump Victory” organization.

When Trump won Florida, press secretary Emma Vaughn sent an email saying: “It’s official: Florida is still Trump Country! Joe Biden and his socialist agenda never stood a chance in the Sunshine State. President Trump’s ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept’ record resonated with Floridians statewide, accompanied by Trump Victory’s historic ground game operation, which could not be matched. Florida has once again delivered its 29 electoral votes for President Trump and is ready for Four More Years.”

But in the end, Florida wasn’t enough — Biden had gathered the electoral college votes needed, as well as the popular votes.

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.